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New Zealand / 16 Products

New Zealand (Aotearoa in Maori) is an island country in the southwesternmost part of Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean. It is composed of two main islands— the North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and about 700 smaller islands. New Zealand is located around 1,000 kilometers south of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga and 2,000 kilometers east of Australia. Due to its remote location, New Zealand was the last habitable land to be populated by humans. It has a distinctive Maori culture cultivated by Polynesians that settled between1280 to 1350. The Treaty of Waitangi officially put New Zealand under British rule. In 1947, New Zealand gained full statutory independence from Great Britain. It remains a member of the Commonwealth. 

New Zealand’s economy is largely dependent on the service sector, industrial sector, agriculture, and tourism. The official currency and legal tender of New Zealand, its territories and dependencies (the Cook Islands, Niue, the Ross Dependency, Tokelau, and Pitcairn Islands) is the New Zealand dollar, also known as the Kiwi dollar or tara o Aotearoa in Maori. One dollar is equivalent to 10 cents. Prior to adopting the New Zealand dollar in 1967, New Zealand used the New Zealand pound. The sole issuer of New Zealand banknotes is the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which was established on August 1, 1934. The first pound banknotes issued by the Reserve Bank had one design, with different denominations having different colors. These notes all featured a kiwi bird, the national emblem, a sketch of Mitre Peak, and a portrait of the second Maori king, King Tawhiao. This design persisted until 1940, when the portrait of King Tawhiao was replaced by a portrait of Captain James Cook. In 1967, New Zealand switched from the pound to the dollar with a rate of 2 dollars/pound. This first series of New Zealand dollar notes all featured the photograph of Queen Elizabeth II by Anthony Buckley on the obverse side and different birds and plants on the reverse side. In 1981, the Reserve Bank changed their banknote printer from De La Rue to Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company. With this switch came new printer imprints, guilloches, and the updated photograph of Queen Elizabeth II by Peter Grugeon. The bank also introduced the 50 dollar note. A commemorative issue of the 10 dollar note was issued in 1990 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, a treaty that established a British government in New Zealand and recognized Maori as the owners of New Zealand and as British subjects. A newly redesigned family of New Zealand dollars were introduced in 1992 to highlight notable New Zealanders on the obverse note. Queen Elizabeth II was still featured on the 20 dollar note. Starting on 1999, New Zealand dollar banknotes were printed on polymer substrate by Note Printing Australia. A commemorative note celebrating the new millennium was issued in 2000. The note had a clear window near the map of New Zealand. When the note was folded, the letters Y2K became visible through the clear window. In 2014, a “Brighter Money” design was introduced. These “Brighter Money” notes had upgraded security features but retained the designs of the previous issue, which still continue to circulate in parallel to the newer banknotes.  

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