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New Zealand - Currency

The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar. It has the same ‘$’ sign as the US dollar and is often followed with NZ or NZD to clarify. This currency is also used in some of the outlying Pacific islands which are part of New Zealand, in particular the Cook Islands and the Pitcairn Islands. Each dollar is divided into 100 cents. It is occasionally referred to as the ‘kiwi’, a nickname that is often associated with New Zealand. There are few other slang words for the currency although a dollar is often referred to as a ‘buck’, as it is in the US.

Prior to the introduction of the New Zealand dollar, the people there used the pound. Until 1933 this was pounds sterling as in the UK but in 1963 the process of decimalization started and the country opted for its own version of the dollar, which came into effect in 1967.

The New Zealand dollar is one of the most traded currencies in the world. In 2007 and 2008 the value dropped slightly due to the effects of the global economic crisis but in 2009 it began to show signs of recovery again.

Coins were originally minted in denominations of 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents. There are no longer 1 cent and 2 cent coins in circulation after these were demonetized in 1990. In 2006 the 5 cent coin was also removed from circulation. There are also now coins available in denominations of $1 and $2. Due to the removal of the smaller coins there is a system in place which is known as Swedish Rounding. This is necessary when items are priced to end in amounts where the customer does not have the exact amount of money and cannot be given change as the coins no longer exist. Most retailers have adopted Swedish Rounding, so prices which end with numbers 1-4 will normally be rounded down for a cash transaction and prices from 6-9 will be rounded up, however, this is the decision of the retailer. Retailers can go either way with a price ending in 5. This does not affect transactions being paid for with credit or debit cards as the exact amount can be taken.

The 10 cent coin has a coppery colour and features a carved Maori mask known as a koruru. The 20 cent coin is a silver colour and has 7 distinct sections in a design known as a ‘Spanish flower’. The design features a Maori carving. The 50 cent coin has an image of the Endeavour, the ship of Captain Cook. The $1 and $2 coins are aluminium-bronze and both have images of birds, with the kiwi on the $1 coin and the white heron on the $2 coin.

When the dollar was introduced, banknotes were printed in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $100. In 1983 these were joined by the $50 note. The $1 and $2 notes were eventually phased out when coins for the same amount were introduced in 1991. In 1992 advances in technology allowed polymer notes to replace the original paper versions, allowing for more security features. On all the New Zealand banknotes there are images of people, birds and plants which are important to the country. On the $5 bank note there is an image of Sir Edmund Hillary. He was still living when his image first appeared on the banknote. The $10 note features Kate Sheppard, who campaigned for women to get the vote. Queen Elizabeth II appears on the $20 note and the $50 note features Sir Apirana Ngata, the first Maori to graduate from university in the country. The $100 note has an image of Sir Ernest Lord Rutherford, an eminent scientist.

The bank notes in New Zealand are different colours. The $5 note is a reddish-brown colour, while the $10 note is blue. The $20 note is green, the $50 note is purple and the $100 note is brown. When you withdraw cash at an ATM you can only take out $20 and $50 notes. $100 notes are not used very much and are normally only obtainable over the counter at the bank.

Read more about this country

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