By Matthew Hutching
New Zealand has had an official currency for about 160 years. Here is a brief history of our notes and coins.
1800s: A variety of foreign coins and notes are used around New Zealand before British currency becomes legal tender in 1858.
1870s: Maori feature on Bank of New Zealand notes.
1879: A penny bearing the legend "New Zealand" is made, but it isn't known who made it. It never became official, and is considered New Zealand's rarest coin.
1886: Te Peeke o Aotearoa, the bank established by Maori King Tawhiao, printed notes in Maori.
1933: The first official New Zealand coins (based on Britain's pounds, shillings & pence) are issued. Images of native birds or Maori icons feature on the 'tails', and the British monarch features on the 'heads' side.
1934: The Reserve Bank is established and becomes the sole supplier of banknotes. Designs are based on the Bank of New Zealand's notes. Designs include image of a kiwi, the Coat of Arms, Maori King Tawhiao and Fiordland's Mitre Peak. Captain Cook later replaced King Tawhiao.
1967: New Zealand replaces pounds, shillings and pence with dollars and cents. Twenty-seven million new banknotes and 165 million new coins are made.
1983: First $50 note issued
1985: NZ is first country to introduce EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale) debit cards
1991: New coins are issued featuring Captain Cook's ship, The Endeavour, on the 50c.
1992: Image of Queen Elizabeth replaced on all banknotes by pictures of prominent New Zealanders Edmund Hillary, Kate Sheppard, Apirana Ngata and Ernest Rutherford. Native birds and plants embellish the backs of the notes.
1999: Banknotes change from paper to plastic.
2006: 5c coin withdrawn. 10, 20, and 50c coins resized.
2016: New banknotes are released with brighter colours, larger font, more Te Reo Maori and more sophisticated security features
In 1933 and 1967 when major redesigns of the New Zealand currency took place, there were many rejected designs, including images of rugby players, marlin, and a curiously communist-looking hammer and sickle.
All images supplied courtesy of Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.