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New Zealand is upgrading its banknotes.

The new notes will be the same sizes and denominations as the current banknotes, and they will continue to be made of flexible plastic. The themes of the notes remain the same, with the same respected New Zealanders, the Queen, and flora and fauna remaining central to the designs.

The $5 and $10 notes were released in October 2015, with the $20, $50 and $100 notes targeted for May 2016. You will still be able to use the current notes as well as the 'Brighter Money' notes.

Since our current banknotes were first issued in 1999, security features and the technology for designing and printing banknotes have all advanced considerably. And while counterfeiting rates here in New Zealand are low compared to the rest of the world, we need to stay one step ahead of the game.

'Brighter Money' includes improved security features, vibrant imagery, and innovative design.

Explore $5 note Explore $10 note

Colour change

Security feature

Check the colour changing Yellowhead - as you move the note, the colour inside the bird changes and a bar rolls diagonally across the bird shape.

Holographic window

Security feature

Check the transparent window and hologram inside – as you spin the note, colours appear inside the new, larger window.

You will see a silver fern, map of New Zealand and the same bird featured on the note. A number is embossed into the bottom of the window.

Raised ink

Security feature

You can feel raised print on the large numbers and words "Reserve Bank of New Zealand Te Pūtea Matua" and "New Zealand Aotearoa".

Puzzle number

Security feature

Check the puzzle number - holding the note up to the light will make the irregular shapes on the front and the back of the note line up to show the number 100.

Ernest, Lord Rutherford of Nelson

(1871 – 1937)

Lord Rutherford of Nelson is internationally recognised as the 'father of the atom'. He changed the basic understanding of atomic science on three occasions.

He explained the perplexing problem of naturally occurring radioactivity, determined the structure of the atom, and changed one element into another.

Tukutuku panel

Whakaaro Kotahi

The pattern used as a background on the $100 is called Whakaaro Kotahi from the Wharenui Kaakati at Whakatū Marae in Nelson.

Whakaaro Kotahi is a representation of the unity and consensus of the six Iwi of Whakatū Marae in the Nelson area. Rutherford identified strongly with the Nelson area and when he accepted his peerage he took the title Lord Rutherford of Nelson. He always considered this part of New Zealand home.

Ko te tauira e whakamahia nei hei kaupapa mō te moni pēke $100 ko Whakaaro Kotahi, mai i te wharenui o Kaakati, i Whakatū Marae, i te Tauihu o Te Waka.

Ka noho ko Whakaaro Kotahi hei whakaahuatanga mō te kotahitanga me te noho pipiri o ngā iwi e ono o te marae o Whakatū, i te takiwā o Whakatū. He kaha tonu te piringa o Rutherford ki te takiwā o Whakatū, ā, nō tana whakaaetanga ki te tūranga rangatira ka taunahatia e ia te ingoa Lord Rutherford of Nelson. Ka noho tonu i roto i a ia tēnei whakaaro, ko tēnei rohe o Aotearoa tōna kāinga, ā, mate noa.

Nobel Prize Medal

Lord Rutherford was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908 "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances".

Overlaying the medallion is a graph plotting the results from Lord Rutherford's investigations into naturally occurring radioactivity.

South Island lichen moth

Declana egregia

Also known as the South Island zebra moth, can be found in Fiordland beech forests. The moths are camouflaged against the lichens that grow on the trunks of the trees.

Eglinton Valley

Fiordland National Park

Eglinton Valley is located within the Fiordland National Park, with the Te Anau-Milford Sound road running along it. It is home to red beech forest and Yellowhead birds.


Mohoua ochrocephala

The mohua or yellowhead (Mohoua ochrocephala) is a small and colourful bird. It nests in tree holes, making it vulnerable to predators. It can be found in small isolated populations in the South Island and on islands off Stewart Island/Rakiura.

Red Beech or tawhai raunui (Fuscospora fusca, or Nothofagus fusca) grow up to 30 metres high and are named for the colour of their wood. They are significant habitat for the yellowheads in Eglinton Valley.