The Reserve Bank is the sole supplier of New Zealand banknotes. We act as a wholesale distributor to the trading banks, and manage the design and manufacturing of the banknotes.
New Zealand has five denominations of banknotes in circulation: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
New banknotes will be released progressively from late 2015. For more information about the banknotes, and to see the designs, visit the Brighter Money website.
New Zealand’s banknotes are being upgraded to ensure they benefit from technical advances that have been introduced in banknote security. New notes will be introduced progressively from late 2015.
The Reserve Bank is not making significant changes to the overall design themes of the notes themselves. This includes continuing to use the five respected individuals and the fauna and flora currently depicted on our notes. For more information about the banknotes, and to see the designs, visit the Brighter Money website.
New Zealand’s banknotes are printed on polymer, which is a type of polypropylene plastic.
The Reserve Bank began circulating polymer banknotes in May 1999. Until then, New Zealand’s banknotes were printed on paper made from cotton.
The advantages of polymer are:
The planning, printing and production of the New Zealand banknotes is a very complex business, employing many skilled professionals for many years before the banknotes are issued. The process can generally involve the following stages.
Banknotes incorporate a range of security features to protect against counterfeiting, and new features are constantly being developed.
The current New Zealand banknotes contain a range of security features. There are two transparent windows – a transparent fern on the left-hand side of the note and an ovoid shape with the denomination of the note etched on the window on the right-hand side. These two windows make it very difficult to counterfeit the note.
Other security features include:
New Zealand’s new banknotes, to be released progressively from late 2015, will incorporate even more modern and complex security features. More information about these features will be made available closer to the time the notes are released.
How to spot a counterfeit (PDF 278KB)
Information on how to tell if a note is genuine can be found in our: “How to spot a counterfeit”guide.
Banknote design requires very specific technical knowledge in a range of areas, including aesthetics, printing techniques, security features and banknote equipment requirements.
The Reserve Bank makes initial decisions about the colour, wording and sizes of each denomination based on public surveys and expert advice.
Designers then draw up concept designs to incorporate the various features of the note, including the:
Once these features are agreed upon, the selected designer produces a picture of the front and back of each denomination. These pictures are produced in the correct size and colours with the aid of a computer-based design system.
These banknote designs are assessed by a range of people, including security experts, banknote equipment manufacturers and design, history and cultural experts, to ensure they enhance security, are aesthetically pleasing and reflect New Zealand’s culture and history.
New Zealand’s current polymer banknotes were produced by Note Print Australia Limited in Melbourne. New Zealand’s new banknotes will be printed by Canadian Banknote Company in Ottawa. Both sets will be printed on the same polymer. Banknotes are manufactured as described in the following steps:
Use the following forms if you have old money that is no longer ‘legal tender’. You will need to print them out to complete.