Located about 800 km east of New Zealand's South Island, the Chatham Islands consist of approximately 10 islands, including the largest Chatham and Pitt Islands. The islands are also known as Rekohu in Moriori or Wharekauri in Maori. Some of the islands are now preserved as nature reserves to conserve the unique flora and fauna after being formerly cleared for farming.
The Chatham Islands' economy is heavily reliant on fishing and crayfishing, with adventure tourism contributing only a fraction of the economic activity. The economic mix has remained stable for the past five decades, with limited infrastructure and population present to support higher levels of industrial or telecommunications activity. As a result, the islands continue to maintain their traditional economic focus on fishing, and little diversification has occurred. However, the stability of the economy has been a positive factor, as it has allowed for sustainable development and preservation of the region's natural resources.
As part of New Zealand, the New Zealand dollar is used and accepted anywhere around Chatham Islands.
To commemorate the Chatham Islands being the first human-inhabited land to enter the third millennium in 1999, the Chatham Islands Note Corporation, a private organization, released banknotes. However, despite their commemorative value, these banknotes are not considered legal tender and do not have to be accepted in any transaction.
The design of the commemorative banknotes is based on the U.S. dollar bill, with lettering around the edges. Their obverse is a depiction of the head of a Chatham Island Taiko, or Magenta Petrel facing right to the right of the note, a multi-colored guilloche at the center, and a map of the Chatham Islands. Their reverse features various designs such as the first motor vehicle, a Chatham Islands black robin, and a lobster with sea in the background.