Commemorative banknotes are occasionally issued. At top is a $10 banknote issued in 1990 to mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The obverse side was largely the same as the standard $10 note, but it included the kōtuku (white heron) logo of the 1990 Commission, which organised the sesquicentennial celebrations, as well as a unique security thread. A Treaty of Waitangi signing scene appeared on the reverse side, and the note was a lighter shade of blue. The unsold notes entered general circulation.
The lower note is the polymer $10 note issued in 2000 to mark the beginning of the new millennium. This note is very different from the standard fifth-series $10 note and does not feature a portrait. Instead it depicts a Māori waka (canoe) sailing towards the sun on the obverse side, with the words 'The dawn of a new era lights the way for New Zealand's perpetual voyage of innovation and discovery' within the clouds. On the reverse side, popular New Zealand outdoor activities are represented – surfing, skiing, beach-going, sky-diving and kayaking. The phrase 'Celebrating New Zealand's free spirit & quest for adventure in the new millennium' curves between the images. This note was issued for general circulation but its collectable characteristics mean it is not much seen.
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