Who is the face of our money?

The reserve bank in New Zealand will be releasing new bank notes over the next year.  The main reason is to improve security features.  This spruced up currency has brighter colours, but keeps the same theme with the same flora and fauna and faces.  The Queen gets a more up to date picture to go with the woman we know today.  So who are these famous faces that we carry in our wallet?

New New Zealand bank notes

The new, New Zealand bank notes

$5 – Sir Edmund Hillary (1919 – 2008)

Sir Ed is a household name among New Zealanders.  He is seen as a hero, showing that a bee keeper from little New Zealand can achieve big things.  He is most famous for being the first person to summit Mount Everest in 1953.  He also took a Massey Ferguson tractor to the south pole which is featured on the bottom left corner of the note.   Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak is featured in the background.  As well as numerous other achievements, he was known to be incredibly generous and greatly helped the people of Nepal by helping build schools and hospitals.  For more of an insight into Sir Edmund Hillary’s life you can read my other article on him here.

Five dollar note

$10 – Kate Shepard (1848-1934)

Kate was a very important leader of the campaign to give women the vote in New Zealand.  After several years of campaigning and petitions given to parliament the fight came to an end in 1983 when New Zealand became the first country in the world to give all people the vote.

The white camellia flowers pictured on the note were given to Members of Parliament who had supported the bill to give women the vote.  The flower has grown into a symbol of New Zealand women’s fight for the vote.

10 Dollars

$20 – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926- )

Our $20 note features the queen of England to represent our ties with Great Britain.  Ronald Woolf took this portrait of the queen at Government house, Wellington on 26 February 1986.  The badge she is wearing is the Sovereign’s badge of the Order of New Zealand.  The ribbon is based on a taniko pattern.

In the background you can see two of the three New Zealand Parliament buildings, situated in Wellington.  The older building was finished in 1922 and houses the Legislative Chamber.  The other building has been nick named ‘The Beehive’ and was completed in 1981.


20 dollar

$50 – Sir Apirana Ngata (1874-1950)

During the early years of the twentieth century, Sir Apirana Ngata played a significant role in the revival of Maori people and culture.  He became the first Maori to graduate from a New Zealand university, in fact he went on to get a second degree and became the first New Zealander, Maori or Pakeha (European settlers) to gain a double degree. He also served as an elected Member of Parliament for 38 years.

Porourangi Meeting House was designed by Sir Apirana himself. It stands at Waiomatatini Marae, near Ruatoria, and is a showcase for Maori art.

The Tukutuku pattern was designed by Sir Apirana Ngata and is known as ‘poutama porourangi’. ‘Poutama’ is the style of tukutuku pattern meaning ‘stairway to heaven’ and ‘Porourangi’ is the name of the Ngati Porou meeting-house which features the pattern.

50 dollar

$100 – Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)

‘Father of the atom’ is who Lord Rutherford became internationally recognised as. He changed the basic understanding of atomic science on three occasions. He explained the perplexing problem of naturally occurring radioactivity; determined the structure of the atom; and changed one element into another.

Nobel Prize Medal which Lord Rutherford received in 1908. Overlaying the medallion is a graph plotting the results from Lord Rutherford’s investigations into naturally occurring radioactivity.

100 dollars

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So basically I spent the first 11 years of my life growing up in Namibia which is in the magnificent continent of Africa. In 1998 my family decided to fly to the other side of the world, to beautiful, green New Zealand. This was ...

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Continent: Oceania
Capital: Wellington
Population: 4,252,300
Area: 268,680 km2
Currency: Dollar
Languages: English

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