New Zealand (Maori: Aotearoa) is an island country in the Southwestern part of Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean. It includes two main islands and 700 smaller islands. The two main islands are the Te Ika-a Maui (North Island) and the Te Waipounamu (South Island). The country is located 1,000 kilometers south of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga, and 2,000 kilometers east of Australia. Its remote location lends to the development of a unique Maori culture. New Zealand is the last habitable land to be populated by humans. The Treaty of Waitangi officially placed New Zealand under British rule. In 1947, New Zealand gained full independence from Great Britain. However, it is still a member of the Commonwealth.
Its economy is a highly developed free-market economy. It has one of the most globalized economies that is highly dependent on international trade. New Zealand also has a Closer Economic Relations Agreement with Australia. This agreement closely aligns Australia and New Zealand’s economies. Some of the largest economic sectors in New Zealand are the service sector, the industrial sector, agriculture, and tourism.
The official currency of New Zealand, its territories, and dependencies (Cook Islands, Niue, the Ross Dependency, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands) is the New Zealand dollar. The New Zealand dollar is also known as the Kiwi dollar and tara in Maori. One dollar is equivalent to 100 cents. The New Zealand dollar replaced the New Zealand pound in 1967 at a rate of 2 dollars per pound.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is the sole issuer of New Zealand banknotes. It was established on August 1, 1934. The first family of New Zealand dollar notes was issued in 1967. These notes featured Anthony Buckley’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in front and different birds and plants at the back. In 1981, the Reserve Bank switched banknote printers from De La Rue to Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company. This switch introduced a new family of notes that had new printer imprints, guilloches, an updated photograph of Queen Elizabeth II by Peter Grugeon, and a new denomination- the 50 dollar note. In 1990, a commemorative 10 dollar note was issued to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. This treaty established a British government in New Zealand and recognized the Maori as owners of New Zealand and British subjects.
In 1992, a new family of notes was introduced. These notes highlighted notable New Zealanders and their accomplishments. However, Queen Elizabeth II was still featured in the 20 dollar note. In 1999, the New Zealand dollar notes were printed on polymer substrates. At the turn of the millennium in 2000, a commemorative note was issued. This commemorative 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” family that had upgraded security features was introduced. The “Brighter Money” family retained the designs of the previous family of notes, which circulated in parallel to the newer notes.