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Banknotes in circulation
Series 7 $5 and $10 banknotes were released in October 2015 and the remaining three denominations were released in May 2016.
New Zealand fifty-dollar note
The front and back of the banknote
The front and back of the banknote have raised ink that can be felt.
On the front of the banknote, the large number 50, the portrait and the words “Reserve Bank of New Zealand Te Pūtea Matua” are raised;
on the back, the large number 50, the featured bird and the words “New Zealand” and “Aotearoa” are raised.
The Series 6 security features include that, when the note is shown to the light, a shadow image of Elizabeth II is displayed.
There is intaglio printing through the note which gives it an embossed feel.
Under UV light a fluorescent patch will appear showing “50”, the denomination of the note.
The note has a see-through window in the shape of fern on the left and an oval-shaped window on the right.
There is an image of a fern located above the see-through window, and the two sides should match perfectly when held up to the light.
This is a Reserve Bank of New Zealand 1951 fifty pound note.
In New Zealand, paper money arrived with the Europeans.
Prior to 1934, the six trading banks had produced the banknotes that were in common circulation.
In 1924 the trading banks reached an agreement on a uniform design.
By the 1920s there was a general push to establish a central bank that would issue a single national currency.
The decision was finally taken in 1930.
and steps went ahead to set up the Reserve Bank in New Zealand with sole authority to issue New Zealand’s currency.
Work to design new banknotes began in 1932.
They were finally issued in August 1934, six months after the Reserve Bank started.
The first banknotes were introduced in 1934.
The second series was issued in 1940.
The design and colours for the £50 note were changed.
\A portrait of Captain James Cook replaced that of King Tawhiao.
In 1886 the Māori King Tāwhiao established a bank, Te Peeke o Aotearoa.
which was in business until around 1905.
It was set up to provide banking and monetary services to Māori and was also an expression of Māori autonomy.
The bank produced banknotes, though none seem to have been officially issued.
The few that survive are among the rarest notes in New Zealand.
The surviving notes differ slightly and some have a truncated version of Tāwhiao’s name – ‘Tawhia’ – in one corner.
Over the years designers have used many types of symbols on banknotes including flags, national coat of arms, and maps.
But one of the most enduring symbols (also found on coins) have been portraits of monarchs, and heads of states.
The first portrait on a banknote appeared in 1777 and they still remain popular.
— for example the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the New Zealand twenty dollar note.
Today, however, the scope of portraits has widened to include people who have reflected and contributed to a nation’s social.
cultural and scientific history, like the side profile of Sir Edmund Hillary found on the New Zealand 5 dollar banknote.
Currency, like stamps, can be important expressions of a nation’s identity.
Banknote designers can use symbols or other icons to underline important national ideas, beliefs, events, places and people.
Typical examples are a coat of arms, the national flag, a geographic map or other national symbols like heraldic beasts.
motifs relating to folklore and historical or symbolic places.
In the case of the 1940 £50 note, Cook and his ship the Endeavour were used to symbolise the British ‘discovery’ of New Zealand.
Māori designs and motif were used quite often on 19th-century publications, especially tourist books.
They also became common on trademarks and stamps.
Designs with koru elements became an important, recognisable aspect of the branding of many public agencies over the course of the 20th century.
The current $50 banknote incorporates a number of Māori design elements as well as a portrait of the Ngāti Porou and nationally significant politician, Apirana Ngata.
Example: New Zealand $10 note
Kate Sheppard appears on the New Zealand $10 note.
The prominence given to her suggests New Zealanders’ pride in being the first country in the world to grant women the vote, in 1893.
Sheppard was a founding member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in New Zealand.
Through distributing pamphlets, organising meetings, writing letters to newspapers .
and extensive public speaking, she effectively led the fight for women’s suffrage.
In the left background of the note is a white camellia.
These flowers were given to members of Parliament who supported the suffrage bill.
and have subsequently become a symbol of the fight for women’s suffrage.
In the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, there is a memorial walk to Sheppard which is lined with white camellias.