Story: Nation and government

Coins showing the head of state

Coins showing the head of state

New Zealand’s head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. This does not compromise the country’s independence because she does not exercise any powers in New Zealand as Queen of the United Kingdom. As New Zealand’s sovereign, her head has appeared on the country’s coins for over 50 years. The youthful image on the commemorative coin issued at the time of the Queen’s coronation in 1953 (top left) contrasts with the mature depiction on the 50-cent coin issued in 2001 (bottom).

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'Nation and government - System of government', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 August 2022)

Story by John Wilson, updated 1 Sep 2016