Story: Nation and government

Coins showing the head of state

Coins showing the head of state

New Zealand’s head of state is the British monarch. This does not compromise the country’s independence because they do not exercise any powers in New Zealand as King or Queen of the United Kingdom. As New Zealand’s sovereign, the head of Queen Elizabeth II appeared on the country’s coins for 70 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).

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'Nation and government - System of government', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 April 2024)

Story by John Wilson, updated 1 Sep 2016