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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Decimal System

In New Zealand efforts have periodically been made to introduce the decimal system. In 1957 a representative committee was appointed by the then Minister of Finance “to examine matters connected with the possible introduction of decimal coinage in New Zealand”. In its report, dated 1 October 1959, the committee stated that it “is agreed in principle that a change to decimal coinage is desirable” and recommended a system that would involve a 10s. unit, with 10 lower units, “cents”, to the shilling.

In April 1963 the Minister of Finance announced the Government's decision to adopt decimal coinage in 1967, and by July 1964 the following decision had been made:

  1. That the date of the changeover be Tuesday, 11 July 1967;

  2. That the major unit adopted be based on 10s., and divided into 100 minor units valued at 1.2d.;

  3. That the names of the major and minor units be “dollar” and “cent”; and

  4. That the denominations of coinage be ½, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. Thus there will be no 2½ cent piece equivalent to the present 3d., nor a 25 cent piece equivalent to the present half-crown, which is to be withdrawn from circulation by 1967.

A Decimal Currency Board with members representing Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the Post Office, the trading banks, and commerce has been appointed to organise and administer the changeover. A Coinage Design Advisory Committee has also been set up to advise the Government on various aspects of design for the new coins. It has been announced that a new effigy, or “head”, approved by the Queen, will be used, the work of Arnold Machin, R.A.

The Decimal Currency Act of 1964 covered many of the above points, as well as those dealing with the composition of the new coins, new legal tender amounts, and the counterfeiting of coin. This Act replaced the Coinage Act of 1933.

Next Part: Bank Notes