The government has identified the groups in line to receive a special Covid-19 Response Recognition Award.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said all New Zealanders at home and abroad played a part in the successful response to the pandemic.
But she wanted to acknowledge those people whose roles were particularly crucial, including those who worked in MIQ, the border, testing, contact tracing, medical services and vaccination.
"Earlier this year I announced this award to recognise particular people who contributed to New Zealand's COVID-19 response, with MIQ workers the first confirmed recipients," Ardern said in a statement on Saturday.
"We have subsequently considered other workforces who delivered key parts of the Covid-19 response and as a result further recipients of the award will be the border, testing, contact tracing and vaccination workforces along with the doctors and nurses who cared for patients with Covid-19.
"Their efforts were vital to our national response, and this award is one way we can recognise and thank them for stepping up during our most challenging days."
She said New Zealand owes them a "debt of gratitude".
Up to 80,000 lapel pins will be awarded to individuals, and there will also be an organisational award to recognise the collective efforts of people working for non-governmental organisations.
"Many organisations and iwi provided services that helped people to stay safe and healthy during periods of lockdown or self-isolation, particularly vulnerable and marginalised communities," Ardern said.
The awards, "designed to be in keeping with the likes of military service", will be handed out in late January.