Story: Coins and banknotes

Second series of banknotes: 10 shillings (1st of 5)

Second series of banknotes: 10 shillings

The second series of banknotes was issued by the Reserve Bank on 6 February 1940, the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The design of the notes was more varied and included a separate watermark panel. King Tāwhiao was replaced by the British navigator James Cook on the front of the notes, appearing instead as the watermark. The coat of arms was retained, but the kiwi from the front of the first series appeared on the back of the 10-shilling note only. The 10-shilling, £1 and £5 notes were the same on the front and differed from the new £10 and £50. The reverse of each note was different, and had a border. This time the notes were different sizes – the 10-shilling note was the smallest and the £50 the largest. The colour of the 10-shilling note was changed from dark orange-red to brown, because the colour had been too similar to the red of the £50 note and caused confusion.

The main elements of the obverse side of the 10-shilling note (as on the £1 and £5 notes) are a watermark panel, the coat of arms and James Cook, based on an engraving by Nathaniel Dance. The border varies, but includes ‘The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’ along the top, and Māori carvings and other iconography on the sides and bottom.

The reverse side of the note shows a kiwi before a mountain, a scene depicting the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and the watermark. The treaty scene was based on a bas-relief panel mounted on the pedestal of a statue of Queen Victoria in Wellington. The border contains the Reserve Bank’s legend at the top and a combination of Māori iconography and European-style geometric forms on the other sides.

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Reserve Bank of New Zealand

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Coins and banknotes - A national currency, 1930s to 1960s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 May 2024)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 20 Jun 2012