From the Veterans Affairs page:
The first stage of the application process is expected to open in late February/early March. Medals will be issued based on the age of the living ex-Service person. The medals will be sent to the oldest applicants first and to those of any age who are terminally ill. To assist NZDF in ensuring the oldest applicants receive their medals first, it is expected that the initial call will be made for applications from ex-Service personnel over seventy years of age. Any applications received from persons under that age will not be processed and persons should wait until the NZDF advises that the next age group should send in their applications. This is also the case for those applying of behalf of deceased spouses, next of kin etc.
If you are entitled to it then apply for it and wear it. The opinions of people who do not understand what it signifies are of no value. New Zealand has one of the most underdressed armed forces in the world and medalic recognition of service is amongst the lowest. Media coments about what consititues being a “hero” are as offensive as they are ill-informed. You’ve earned it and it wouldn’t hurt to remind the nation this ANZAC Day that a LOT of New Zealanders have served and continue to do so making the day as relevant now as ever.
From the NZDF Medals site:
The intent of the New Zealand Defence Service Medal is to recognise the unique requirements of military service. These requirements include: – commitment to service of the Crown (represented by an oath/affirmation of allegiance),- liability for operational service subject to military discipline and lifestyle,- and imposed constraints on employment conditions and personal freedoms.