The New Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal was instituted by the Queen by Royal Warrant on 9 February 1990. It was to be awarded only during 1990 to about 3,000 people selected in recognition of the contribution they have made to some aspect of New Zealand life, especially the various 1990 celebrations. Subsequently 3,632 medals were awarded.
The New Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal is an official medal to be worn on all occasions on which decorations and medals are worn. It is worn after Coronation and Jubilee medals, but before decorations and medals for long service. It is accompanied by a certificate bearing the signatures of the Queen, the Governor-General and the Prime Minister