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.
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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