Our Coat of Arms
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has a formal coat of arms which features on the cover of many of the Bank’s publications. The coat of arms is also the central element in the Reserve Bank’s logo and a large-scale casting of it can be seen in the foyer of the Reserve Bank’s Wellington office.
At the top of the coat of arms a demi-griffin holding a portcullis is depicted. This is a traditional heraldic symbol for a guardian of treasure. The shield is supported by two lions, which have collars from which keys are suspended. The Bank’s security function is again emphasised by the crossed keys of the shield.
The Maori head represents King Tawhiao who lived from 1825 to 1894. It was he who, as far as we know, had the first bank note in New Zealand printed. King Tawhiao’s profile first appeared on early Bank of New Zealand bank notes, was included on the first issue of Reserve Bank of New Zealand bank notes, and was part of the watermark in bank notes on issue prior to the change to decimal currency in July 1967.
The small bull’s head signifies the beef and dairy industries; the fleece, the meat and wool industries; and the ship, the shipping industry on which New Zealand depends for most exports and imports.
The motto ‘Securitas et Vigilantia’ emphasises the position of the Reserve Bank as a guardian of New Zealand’s financial system.
The Reserve Bank’s coat of arms was granted at the initiative of the Governor of the day, E.C. Fussell, who began formal procedures with the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom in November 1960. Various designs were discussed. A warrant was issued on 24 October 1961 and Letters Patent affixed on 1 June 1965. The Letters Patent have been framed and are hung in the Reserve Bank Museum.