New Zealand five-dollar note

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Five Dollars ($5)
(New Zealand)
Value$5 New Zealand dollar
Width135 mm
Height66 mm
Security featuresWindow, Shadow image
Paper typePolymer
Years of printing1967–present[1]
DesignSir Edmund Hillary
Design dateOctober, 2015[2]
DesignHoiho, Campbell Island
Design dateOctober, 2015

The New Zealand five-dollar note was first issued on 10 July 1967 when New Zealand decimalised its currency, changing from the New Zealand pound to the New Zealand dollar. The notes originally depicted Queen Elizabeth II; since 1992 they have depicted Sir Edmund Hillary.


First issue (1967–1982)[edit]

On the front of the notes Queen Elizabeth II is pictured. There is a watermark of Captain James Cook. On the back of the note is a tui, which is a bird that eats nectar. The plant the bird is perched on is a kōwhai, which is a tree with honey blossoms.

Second issue (1982–1990)[edit]

The colours and Elizabeth II's portrait were the only major changes.

Third issue (1990–1999)[edit]

The old notes were completely overhauled and have the same portraits and design as the fourth issue. There is a metallic strip, and a latent image was added as well; these do not appear on the newer notes. This note is different from the fourth series because it was issued in cotton, not polymer.[3][4]

Fourth issue (1999–2015)[edit]

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand issued a plastic note intended to last four times longer than the former cotton paper paper banknote. The Bank stated that plastic notes are non-porous, meaning that they will not absorb liquids and therefore remain much cleaner. The notes had better security features than the cotton-based ones, with the aim of better deterring counterfeiting.[1]

The design of the note did not change markedly from its paper predecessor. The explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was depicted on the front, with Aoraki / Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand 12,316 feet (3,754 m), shown on the left hand side. Hillary was one of the first two individuals known to have reached summit of Mount Everest, and the first to have been to the South Pole, the North Pole and the summit of Everest. One of the Ferguson tractors driven by Hillary to the pole could be seen in the lower left corner, next to the transparent window. Hillary is the only New Zealander to appear on a banknote during his or her lifetime, in defiance of the established convention that, apart from the current head of state, only people who have died are depicted.

On the reverse of the bill featured a scene from Campbell Island which is south of Stewart Island / Rakiura. The penguin shown on the note is the hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin), which is native to New Zealand. Bulbinella rossii, commonly known as the Ross lily, with yellow flower heads, was also featured. [5]

Series 7[edit]

New $5 and $10 banknotes were released in October 2015 as part of the Series 7 banknote release. The remaining three banknote denominations ($20, $50, $100) in Series 7 were released in May 2016.

Security features[edit]

The polymer note has a watermark of Elizabeth II on the right side. There are two transparent windows with images of a fern, on the left, and on the right. When held up to the light the window will show a "5" in its center, and images of ferns printed on each side will line up perfectly. When the note is put under UV Light a yellow patch should appear with the number "5" through the use of fluorescent dyes.[6]


  1. ^ a b "New Zealand's bank notes". Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  2. ^ Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  3. ^ "The history of bank notes in New Zealand". Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  4. ^ "New Zealand banknotes". Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Explaining New Zealand's Currency" (PDF). Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  6. ^ "The New Polymer Bank Notes" (PDF). Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Retrieved 20 December 2012.