50 years of decimal currency

Release date
10 July 2017

Today signals 50 years of decimal currency in New Zealand and the Bank is marking the anniversary with a new display in its Museum and Education Centre.

This coincides with a new Bulletin article titled “A litmus test for society: Reserve Bank decimal note designs 1967-2017” which traverses New Zealand’s currency as it showcases national and cultural identity. It is accompanied by a downloadable timeline poster showing all seven series of Reserve Bank notes released since 1934.

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler said “This milestone is a great opportunity to reflect on a point in time and see how our banking has evolved and how our money has changed over the years.

“Despite the growth in electronic payment systems, cash in circulation continues to grow and I expect cash, as a means of exchange, to be around for a long time yet. However, we do need to understand more about what drives our use of cash and this is the theme of some research the Bank will soon undertake.” 

Highlights of the Museum and Education Centre display include:

  • a screen display of the original television and radio advertisements and jingle featuring ‘Mr Dollar’, the character created to bring the decimal currency into New Zealand households
  • footage of the first distribution of currency to the banks prior to launch day
  • education and publicity material including a Dollar Scholar certificate and quiz
  • early coin designs
  • artist’s preliminary layout for the $100 banknote
  • the story of the Bahamas Mule, a minting error of the 2 cent coin.

“Reading through the material and watching the footage you get an understanding of how different our operations were run back then,” said Mr Wheeler.

The Museum and Education Centre is open to the public from Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.00pm.

More information

Media contact
Vivienne Sanders
External Communications Adviser
Ph 04 471 3763 or 021 069 0782
Email: vivienne.sanders@rbnz.govt.nz