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$20 banknote

This page provides details of the security features, size and images used on the $20 banknote.

Learn more about the security features of our banknotes

Nominal sizes

The series 7 banknotes nominal sizes are the same as Series 6:

Denomination Length (mm) Height (mm)
$20 145 70

$20 banknote images (front)

Image Description Significance
Queen Elizabeth II portrait
New official portraits of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing her New Zealand honours were released to mark her Diamond Jubilee. The portrait was taken by London-based photographer, Julian Calder, in the Blue Room of Buckingham Palace.

It shows the Queen wearing the Sovereign’s insignia of the Order of New Zealand, the New Zealand Order of Merit, the Star, Sash and Badge (obscured), the Queen’s Service Order, and the Diamond Fern brooch, which was presented by the women of Auckland in 1953, on her right shoulder.
Parliament and Beehive buildings The two main buildings of the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington are shown on the $20 note. The older building, clad in Takaka marble, is in Edwardian neo-classical style and was designed by architects, John Campbell and Claude Paton. Built between 1914 and 1922, it 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.
  Tukutuku 'poutama'
The pattern on the Tukutuku panel is called ‘Poutama’. It 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 pattern used a lot 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.

$20 banknote images (back)

Image Description Significance
New Zealand falcon/kārearea
(Falco novaeseelandiae)
The New Zealand falcon/kārearea (Falco novaeseelandiae) is a striking and majestic bird. A fearless hunter, it is mainly found in bush-clad mountain valleys.

For more information, see the Department of Conservation website
Mount Tapuaenuku Mount Tapuaenuku is the highest peak in the South Island’s inland Kaikoura range at 2,885 metres high. The view shown on the $20 note is from the east side of the inland Kaikouras, looking up from the Awatere Valley floor.
Marlborough rock daisy
(Pachystegia insignis)
The Marlborough rock daisy (Pachystegia insignis) is a small spreading shrub, with thick leathery leaves and large, spectacular flower heads. It grows in inaccessible places and can flourish in areas from sea level to 1,200 metres.

Image credits

The portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was supplied by Buckingham Palace.

The image of Parliament buildings and the 'Beehive' were taken by photographer Stephen A’Court.