New bank notes

Three new bank notes were shown by the Governor-General today. They are the $100, $50 and $20 bank notes. They have the same pictures as the old notes but these notes are brighter in colour. They will be in use next month. The new $10 and $5 bank notes were available in October last year.

All the new notes have been carefully designed to make it difficult for anyone to copy them. Copies are called counterfeit money.

If you look carefully at the new notes, you will see that they are made of a kind of plastic called a polymer. Counterfeit notes are paper which tears easily. Polymer does not tear easily. The printing is raised so you can feel the words with your finger. They each have a hologram. There are two see-through windows. The oval window has the value of the note written in it. If you hold the note to the light, you will see a shadow image of the Queen next to the oval window. You can find out more about these features by going to the Brighter money website.

The $100 note has Sir Ernest Rutherford on it. He became famous for splitting the atom and gaining a Nobel prize. He studied at Canterbury University College (it is called the University of Canterbury now) but his most famous work was done in England.

The $50 note has Sir Apirana Ngata on it. In 1893, he was the first Maori to gain a degree from a university and in 1896 he graduated with a law degree as well. He served in Parliament from 1903 until 1943 and worked hard to support Maori language and culture.

The $20 note has the Queen on one side and the native falcon – the karearea – on the other side. It is also called the bush hawk or the sparrow hawk. It is an extremely fast bird and can fly as fast as 200km per hour to catch its prey.

To learn more about our bank notes, visit the Reserve Bank website.


• counterfeit (adj) – fake money
• tear (v) – pull apart into pieces (rhymes with ‘pear’)
• oval (adj) – egg shape
• shadow (n) – like a ghost
• features (n) – details
• prey (n) – an animal caught by another animal for food (same pronunciation as ‘pray’)


  1. Thank you very much. It’s very useful for my studying New Zealand English.

  2. It is very good for my study in English in New Zealand.

  3. I’m glad to know that.

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