Calls to include Aotearoa designs in future currency following queen's death

A petition has been launched calling on the Reserve Bank to replace references to the British monarchy on future New Zealand currency with an image that better represents Aotearoa.

Te Matahiapo Safari Hynes started the petition in response to Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, knowing that at some point in the future New Zealand would have to re-design its currency for King Charles III’s image.

The Reserve Bank says it may take a few years for images of King Charles III to replace those of his late mother who has featured in New Zealand currency for much of the past 70 years. Hynes says it's important conversations are held before the design process begins.

“Because the redesign processes have not yet begun, we have ample time to get ahead of it and initiate a process that will result in our money reflecting who we are as a country and where we are heading as we continue to mature.”

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi supports the removal of the British monarchy from Aotearoa currency and replaced by Māori identities.

"Āe, tika taua kōrero - hei aha!.

"Engari he aha te roanga o te moni nei ki roto i te ao nei. Kua huri te nuinga ki te kāri, ki te aha rānei. Nō reira mehemea ka whakaritea he Māori ki runga i te moni, āe me whakarite ka tika!"
(Yes I agree, do away with their images. But then again how long will the currency last anyway in this modern world. Most people have turned to using cards or other ways of exchanging money. But yes, if we can incorporate Māori into the currency system then we should be doing it now.)

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says it is appropriate to have the Head of State on New Zealand currency, and despite it evolving over time, doesn't anticipate more change on the way.

"As you know, over the years banknotes have evolved to include other famous New Zealanders, I think that has been a positive development. But there is no indication that that should change.

"Obviously it would be odd to try and remove those notes from circulation, in time I'm sure there will be further proposals and the Head of State may continue to appear."

The petition makes reference to the many people who have contributed to the history of Aotearoa, and have paved the way for its future, as well as the many distinctive Aotearoa symbols such as the pōhutukawa, harakeke, and native birds.

“Our currency is one of the most public and identifiable things in our country - let’s make our money reflect Aotearoa! Right now, our coins and $20 note features the British monarch who will never live in our country, let alone represent us,” it reads.

A Reserve Bank spokesperson said it welcomes ideas and debate about how best to decide upon and reflect contemporary and historical aspects of Aotearoa New Zealand in the country’s currency.

“At the moment we are not planning currency changes beyond updating New Zealand’s Head of State on our coins to King Charles the Third.  Introducing a new banknote series is an expensive multi-stage multi-year process potentially involving design, material, supplier and manufacturing process changes.

“We will consider the need for any wider updates over the next few years, and well before we run out of $20 banknotes featuring Queen Elizabeth II. We will prepare an approach to any review that includes extensive public consultation and a focus on Te Ao Māori.”