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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 yellow-eyed penguin - 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 5.

Sir Edmund Hillary

(1919 - 2008)

Sir Edmund Hillary is New Zealand's best known mountaineer.

In 1953, he and Tenzing Norgay were the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and in 1958 Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person to drive over continental Antarctica to the South Pole.

Tukutuku panel


The pattern included on the banknote is called kaokao and is from the Tane-Nui-A-Rangi meeting house on the University of Auckland marae.

The kaokao pattern symbolises the strength and shelter of the Māori meeting house and mountains – both of which feature prominently in proverbs and aphorisms of the Māori people.

Ko te ingoa o te tauira i tēnei moni pēke ko kaokao, ā, i takea mai i te whare nui o Tāne-Nui-a-Rangi, i te marae o Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau.

Hei tohu te tauira kaokao nei mō te kaha me te whakaruruhau o te wharenui Māori, me ngā maunga o te motu – ēnei mea e rua ka kōrero nuitia i roto i ngā whakataukī o te iwi Māori.

Mount Cook/Aoraki

Mount Cook/Aoraki, in the South Island, is New Zealand's highest mountain.

It was the scene of Sir Edmund Hillary's earliest major climbing successes, and was regarded by Hillary as one of his favourite mountains.

Campbell Island Daisy

Pleurophyllum speciosum

This plant has colourful pink and purple flower heads and is a mega-herb in the daisy family, found on Campbell and Auckland Islands.

Here the plants grow close to the ground to avoid the strong winds.

Campbell Island

Campbell Island is the southernmost of New Zealand's subantarctic islands (approx. 600 kilometres southeast of Stewart Island) and a population of yellow-eyed penguin live and breed here.

This view of Campbell Island shows Northwest Bay from the slopes of Mt Azimuth.

Yellow-eyed penguin/Hoiho

Megadyptes antipodes

The hoiho is unique to New Zealand and is one of the world's rarest penguins. They are found along the south-eastern coastline of the South Island, and on Stewart, Campbell and the Auckland Islands.

The hoiho has a distinctive yellow iris and a yellow band of feathers across the back of its head. Adults are grey-blue on the back, with a snow-white belly and pink feet. Uniquely for penguins they are solitary nesters and will travel quite far inland to do so. The species is threatened by habitat destruction by humans, and predation of chicks by stoats, dogs, ferrets, and cats.