Three weeks to smaller lighter coins

Release date
10 July 2006

The countdown to smaller, lighter coins has begun.

On 31 July 2006 the current 50, 20, and 10 cent coins will be replaced with smaller and lighter coins, and the 5 cent coin will begin to be phased out. The coins will retain the same "heads" and "tails" designs but the 10 cent coin will be copper-coloured. The $1 and $2 coins will not change.

"It's 39 years to the day, on 10 July 1967, that New Zealanders said ‘goodbye' to pounds, shillings and pence, and ‘hello' to dollars and cents", said Reserve Bank Currency Manager, Brian Lang.

"In three weeks we will see another change to our coinage, with the introduction of smaller, lighter 10, 20 and 50 cent coins.

"The Bank has worked with a number of interest groups to ensure the changeover to the new coins goes as smoothly as possible. We have had on-going contact with banks, retailer groups, the vending machine industry, and schools.

"We have also worked closely with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind and the Association of Blind Citizens New Zealand, to ensure people who are blind or vision-impaired can tell the new, smaller coins apart. The new 20 cent piece has seven grooves around its edge, so is easily distinguishable from the new 10 and 50 cent pieces which have smooth edges."

Schools around the country have been sent information about the changes. A special website-based educational learning package for Year 1 to 8 students, featuring the new coins, has also been developed.

Following the introduction of the new coins, on 31 July 2006, there will be a transition period of three months during which existing and new coins can be used. From 1 November 2006 the current 50, 20 and 10 cent coins, and the 5 cent coin will no longer be legal tender, which means retailers do not have to accept them as payment for goods. However the Reserve Bank will always redeem these older coins.

As 31 July draws closer, the Reserve Bank is encouraging people to locate any 5, 10, 20 or 50 cent coins that they may have stored away and either use them or take them to their bank.

For further information, see the Reserve Bank New Coins website – www.newcoins.govt.nz.* The website contains comprehensive information about the coin changes, provides answers to commonly-asked questions, and resources that can be downloaded.

For further information contact
Anthea Black
External Communications Adviser
Ph 04 471 3767, 021 222 5225, anthea.black@rbnz.govt.nz

*This website was archived in 2012 but can be viewed at http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://www.newcoins.govt.nz/