Take note, a new note, just don’t take mine


Fresh more colourful currency has been released today.  In a way, a triumph of technology in an era where “paper” money is actually on the way out – like stamps. Still, let’s have a look at the design elements common to each note.  



The new banknotes follow the release of bright new $5 and $10 banknotes already in circulation. The public can use the old or the new banknotes.

New $5 and $10 banknotes were progressively released from October 2015.

The new banknotes are brighter, with the note denomination shown in larger print and greater colour contrast between notes. The notes also have more Te Reo Maori on them and more sophisticated security features.

The Reserve Bank says the new notes have better security features and are more technologically advanced.

They’re the same sizes as the current notes and have the same New Zealanders, flora and fauna featured on them.

The old notes will be taken out of circulation as banks return them to the Reserve Bank.

It will cost an extra $7M-$8M per annum over the five-year release period to issue and distribute the new notes, and replace reserve stocks.

The process is part of the first banknote upgrade since 1999. While New Zealand experiences low rates of counterfeiting, the new notes are designed to keep ahead of technology advances over 15 years.

The new notes are printed in Canada.

New Zealand switched from paper notes to polymer notes in May 1999.

They look too good to spend, really.



Here’s a photo taken by Fairfax business and wine (?) reporter Chloe Winter.  I do find the setting where the announcement was made earlier today rather charming by providing quite a juxtaposition of old and new.



– Reserve Bank, Newshub, Fairfax


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Graham Pilgrim

    Along with Dr Don Brash, I find the inclusion of the word “Aotearoa”, and a Maori “translation” of Reserve Bank of New Zealand on the new notes, both curious and irritating.

    • Mighty1

      I agree. Here are Don’s words..What I find more disturbing about the new notes is the invention of a Maori name
      for the Reserve Bank. Having a Maori name for the Bank was suggested when I was Governor, and I resisted that on the grounds that “Reserve Bank” is a name, like your name or my name, and names are not often “translated”. Moreover, there was no concept of a central bank in pre-European New Zealand, so the phrase used on the new notes to “translate” Reserve Bank – Te Putea Matua – is at best rather meaningless. I understand that it literally means “the prime source of finance”, though “putea” was in fact a bag or basket of finely woven flax, and “matua” simply means parent, main, or chief. To me, that is trying too hard. Edit Spaces removed

      • phronesis

        They got it pretty right with IRD: Te Tari Take Take Take Take…

        • Alfred12

          Or “we are here to help”!!! Ha ha ha!!

    • johcar

      If they’re going to Maori words on the notes, they should also be using our third official language on the notes too – sign language!!


  • wanarunna

    All very colourful and fresh, apart from the $20. Could they not have got a better picture of the Queen?
    Oh, and I am quietly waiting to hear someone with KDS proclaim that this is a waste of money and only necessary because JK has been secretly taking the old notes out of circulation and hoarding them in his private collection.

    • Graham Pilgrim

      Yes. The Queen appears to be practicing Matt LeBlanc’s “Smell the Fart” acting.

    • rangitoto

      It occurred to me a good troll would have been to have JK’s picture instead of the Queen’s. Imagine the lefty meltdown. The country would be drowning in foam.

      • Ruahine

        John key has taken the Queen off of the $5 note. I know this to be true.
        A woman on the bus to New Plymouth told me.

  • gerard

    It should be english only on the notes.

  • cows4me

    Looks like I’ll have to upgrade the printer.

  • Left Right Out

    Hmmmmmmmmm with all these new features just how are the greens going to just print more money…….

    • ex-JAFA

      I’d love to see them try (briefly, before it caused the economy to collapse). The notes are made from plastic, which is made from nasty nasty oil.

    • Totara

      Michael Cullen certainly printed a whole lot more. If you look at the Reserve Bank’s website, the amount of currency increased by 100% under his watch. This increase in the currency (mostly digital nowadays) is the true definition of inflation.

      The only thing which stopped the inflation becoming more obvious than it already was, at least in consumer goods prices, was the collapse of the finance companies which destroyed many millions of digital dollars that many people had foolishly entrusted to them.

  • Red_NZ

    notice the only note with the Queen on it now is the $20, HRH doesn’t even make it into the hologram now days

    • Abjv

      $20 is the heaviest used note so needs replacing the soonest. They are future proofing for King Chuck I suspect.

  • Totara

    When compared to previous changeovers of currency, the roll out of the latest $5 and $10 notes seems much slower.

    They were released in October, but it took until December before I ever saw any. And even in March, they weren’t always available when I asked at the bank. From what I can see in my change, six months after release, the new $5 and $10 are still very much in the minority.

    With other banknote releases, it seemed that it only took a month before the old banknotes became scarce. Same when the coins were downsized/debased in 2006.

    I’m curious whether people in other parts of the country have noticed this; or whether it is just certain cities that have a lower velocity of currency than others?

    • Abjv

      There was a high turnover of the original paper notes, they deteriorated fast and the money supply had to be constantly topped up. The replacements were a lot more robust, moderately indestructible unless you put them in a clothes dryer, so there was a slower rate of top-up. So a slower rate of introducing the latest set. The latest set is needed as forging technology has moved along.