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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 Kārearea - 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 20.

Queen Elizabeth II

Crowned in 1953

To mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, new official portraits of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing her New Zealand honours were released.

The portrait was taken by London-based photographer, Julian Calder, in the Blue Room of Buckingham Palace. It pictures The Queen wearing the Sovereign's insignia of the Order of New Zealand, the New Zealand Order of Merit, Star, Sash and Badge (obscured) and The Queen's Service Order. The Queen wears the Diamond Fern brooch presented by the women of Auckland in 1953 on her right shoulder.

Tukutuku panel


The pattern is called Poutama and is from the Rongowhakaata whare whakairo, Te Hau-ki-Tūranga. Te Hau-ki-Tūranga is the oldest carved meeting house in existence and is currently located at Te Papa.

The Poutama (Stairway to Heaven) pattern has both religious and educational meanings. The steps symbolise levels of attainment and advancement. It is a predominant pattern in other Rongowhakaata wharenui including Te Mana o Tūranga and Te Poho o Rukupō located in the village of Manutūkē, Gisborne.

Ko te ingoa o tēnei tauira ko Poutama, ā, i takea mai i te whare whakairo o Rongowhakaata, i Te Hau-ki-Tūranga. Ko Te Hau-ki-Tūranga te whare whakairo tawhito rawa o Aotearoa, ā, kei Te Papa Tongarewa e tū ana.

He aronga tō te Poutama e pā ana ki ngā āhuatanga o te ao wairua, ā, he aronga anō tōna e anga ana ki te mātauranga (Te Pikinga ki ngā Rangi). Hei tohu ngā pikinga mō ngā taumata o te akoranga, me te ahunga whakamua. He tauira tēnei e kitea nuitia ana i ētahi atu wharenui o Rongowhakaata, tae atu ki Te Mana o Tūranga, me Te Poho o Rukupō, kei Manutūkē, kei Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa.

Parliament & Beehive buildings


The note shows the two main buildings of the New Zealand Parliament, situated in Wellington. The older building, clad in Takaka marble, is in Edwardian neo-classical style and was designed by architects, John Campbell and Claude Paton.

It was built between 1914 and 1922 as the first stage of a larger planned building, and houses the Legislative Chamber. Construction of the 'Beehive' Executive Wing, designed by Sir Basil Spence, began in 1969. It was officially opened in 1977 and occupied in 1979.

Marlborough rock daisy

Pachystegia insignis

Marlborough rock daisy (Pachystegia insignis) is a small spreading shrub, with thick leathery leaves and large, spectacular flower heads.

It often grows in inaccessible places, and can flourish in areas from sea level to 1,200 metres.

Mount Tapuaenuku


Tapuae-o-Uenuku, the highest peak in the South Island's Inland Kaikoura range at 2,885 metres high.

The view on the note is looking up from the Awatere Valley floor.

New Zealand falcon/Kārearea

Falco novaeseelandiae

The kārearea or New Zealand falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae) is a fast, manoeuvrable hunter.

It is found in forests, including pine plantations, as well as open, mountain habitats.