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NZD - New Zealand Dollar

New Zealand Dollar Converters

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The New Zealand dollar (symbol: $; currency code: NZD) is the official currency and legal tender of New Zealand. Although it’s usually written with the dollar sign $, NZ$ is used to separate the New Zealand from other dollar currencies. In addition to New Zealand, it is also used in the Tokelau, Niue, Pitcairn Island and Cook islands. The New Zealand dollar can be divided into 100 smaller sub-units, which are called cents, and is available in the shape of banknotes and coins. It is also referred to colloquially as the “Kiwi”, not only because the kiwi can be found in New Zealand, but also because it features a kiwi on the $1 coin.

History of the New Zealand Dollar

The New Zealand dollar was introduced as a replacement for the New Zealand pound, as a result of the Decimal Currency Act passed in 1964. Previously, the New Zealand pound, which was derived from the pound sterling, was divided into 20 shillings. Each could be further divided into 12 pence, which was overly complicated and complex. The official introduction of the New Zealand dollar on 10 July 1967, also known as the decimal currency day, took place, with around 165 million new coins minted and 27 million banknotes printed, and put into circulation.

New Zealand Dollar Coins

When the New Zealand dollar was officially introduced, coins were minted in 6 different denominations, which included the 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c denominations. Whereas the first two were struck in bronze, the rest were made from cupronickel alloy. In order to make it easier for the people to get used to the new currency, coins denominated at 5, 10 and 20c were of equal size as the sixpence, shilling and florin, for which they were issued as replacements. In fact, the 10c coin featured an inscription “One Shilling” until the 1970. On the face of every coin was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, done by Arnold Machin. These also featured an inscription with the letters “ELIZABETH II NEW ZEALAND”.

Initially, there was some controversy surrounding the release of the coins in 1967. More specifically, it was the design on the reverse of the coins that was brought into question. The original design was never used, because it was leaked to the public through newspapers and had received negative reactions. The coins were supposed to feature modern art and sculpture-inspired motifs. After less than favorable reception, a more conservative solution was implemented which was received more favorably.

The coins were re-designed in 1986, with Raphael Maklouf’s depiction of Queen Elizabeth II featured on the obverse of the coins. Although they were issued in 1987, the 1c and 2c coins were pulled from circulation three years later, leaving only 5c as part of the monetary transactions. The $1 and $2 notes were replaced by the equivalent bronze coins in 1991. Yet another design change was included in 1999, when Ian Rank-Broadley’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II was put on the obverse of the coins, with the inscription reading “NEW ZEALAND ELIZABETH II”.

Also, staring in 2004, the Reserve Bank began replacing the 10c, 20c and 50c coins with new ones. The 5c coin was taken out of circulation. The rest of the coins were smaller in size, because the old ones, apart from the design on the obverse and the reverse, were exactly the same size as all other British-derived coins. This lead to vending machines, and even some retailers, accepting the foreign currency as legal tender.

New Zealand Dollar Banknotes

The New Zealand dollar banknotes were issued in 1967, in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $100, where each note was a replacement for the equivalent pound note that preceded it, except for the $5 banknote, which was brand new. The first series of these notes has a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse of the bill, wearing Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik tiara, King George's VI festoon necklace, and Queen Mary's floret earrings. The reverse of the bill featured plants and birds that are native to New Zealand.

The design was altered slightly in 1981, due to the banknotes being printed by a different printing company. The previous series was printed by De La Rue, before the switch was made. Bradbury, Wilkinson &amb; Co. handled the printing duties from then on. Apart from adding the $50 denomination in order to bridge the gap between the $20 and the $100 bills, yet another portrait of the Queen was featured on these new notes, this time based on a photograph taken by photographer Peter Grugeon. 1991 saw the replacement of the $1 and $2 notes with coins of the same value.

A new series of notes, featuring a brand new design was issued in 1992, with the obverse of each note featuring a portrait of a notable New Zealander. The reverses featured native bird species and landscapes of New Zealand. The final change was introduced in 1999. While visually remaining the same, apart from the two transparent windows and numerous security features, the material on which the notes were printed was now polymer-based, instead of paper.


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