The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country located in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. Their former currency The Cook Islands dollar, was swapped for the New Zealand dollar, although a few physical cash issued for the former remains in use. The dollar was subdivided into 100 cents. Some older 50-cent coins carry the denomination as "50 tene".
It wasn't until 1967 that the New Zealand dollar replaced the New Zealand pound used in the Cook Islands. In 1972, the local issues of coins of the New Zealand dollar had started to be released for the Cook Islands. In April 1995, the government reverted to using the New Zealand dollar as the country's currency. Cook Islands dollar banknotes that are not $3 notes ceased to be legal tender. They remained convertible to New Zealand dollars until 2005. The government introduced the 3, 10, and 20 dollar notes in July 1987. The 50 dollar notes were then introduced in 1992 as part of a new series of notes. The notes all bear images of events, items, and panorama pertinent to native Polynesian culture. The country's government began exchanging all of the larger banknotes for New Zealand currency in June 1995, although the 3-dollar note and all coins remain in use. The Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management sold the final stocks of Cook Islands banknotes by tender in 2015. The currency has a long history of vibrant and colorful money, and since its first issuing, it has changed its design many times. In 1992, the images of Queen Elizabeth on all of the banknotes changed to reflect distinguished citizens of New Zealand such as Zealanders Ernest Rutherford, Apirana Ngata, Edmund Hillary, and Kate Sheppard, along with local plants and birds on the backs of the notes.
The Cook Islands' economy relies on fisheries, foreign aid, and tourism. More recently, a developing offshore financial sector exposed the nation to vulnerabilities that the government has addressed with regulations and legislation to oversee all banks and enforcement measures and financial institutions. The Cook Islands still face challenges with the emigration of government deficits, natural resource depletion, inadequate infrastructure, and skilled workers. The country is expected to graduate to the high-income threshold established by the World Bank, which will limit its access to Official Development Assistance under OECD guidelines.