Story: Coins and banknotes

Fifth series of banknotes: $20 (3rd of 5)

Fifth series of banknotes: $20

The fifth-series $20 banknote, which is green, features Queen Elizabeth II and Parliament buildings (the Beehive and Parliament House) on the obverse side. The Queen is wearing the Sovereign's Badge of the Queen's Service Order, a New Zealand honour. The tukutuku design behind her is Poutama (the stairs to heaven). As with the tukutuku design on the $10 note, it is taken from the wharenui Te Hau ki Tūranga. The ribbon of the Queen's Service Order also features this design. Poutama is based on the story of the demigod Tāwhaki and his ascent to the heavens in order to attain the three baskets of knowledge. It symbolises the achievements of individuals.

The main features of the reverse side are the kārearea (native falcon), the Marlborough rock daisy, the red tussock and Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku in the Kaikōura ranges of the South Island.

From 1999, a sixth series of banknotes (pictured above) were made from polymer (plastic) instead of paper. This allowed the introduction of a suite of new security features, including micro-printing, a shadow image of Queen Elizabeth II, and transparent windows.

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Reserve Bank of New Zealand

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Coins and banknotes - Decimal currency, 1960s to 2000s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 9 August 2022)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 20 Jun 2012