Kat Kills Your Curiousity Vol. 1: Kiwi Money

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Hi Kat,

What does New Zealand money look like?
How much is it worth?

Jim
Brookfield, MO, USA

Hey, Jim.

The currency in Kiwiland is the New Zealand Dollar. New Zealand money is made up of coins and notes, just as yours is, but ours is fashioned out of a plastic called polymer, much like Australian currency. We also have many different colours, which stops us from getting confused like you folk!

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has this to say:

“All New Zealand’s bank notes have been printed on polypropylene polymer since May 1999. Previously they were printed on paper made from cotton.

There were two main reasons why the Reserve Bank decided to change to polymer. First was wear and tear – polymer bank notes are stronger and non-porous. Polymer notes last at least four times as long as paper notes. They don’t get as dirty and tatty as paper and they are much harder to tear. Secondly, polymer bank notes allow for more sophisticated security features to deter forgeries. These security features are explained in more detail below.

Polymer is also more environmentally friendly. Whereas paper notes were shredded and discarded at the end of their lives, old polymer bank notes can be recycled economically into useful products such as polymer wheelbarrows, compost bins and plumbing fittings.”- NZ money can go through the wash, etc. It’s kinda fun.

The picture above shows the coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2 and the notes for: $5, $10 and $20. ATMs/Bank machines usually dispense $20 bills, unless you withdraw above $100. For large withdrawals, you may sometimes get a mix.

We have famous NZ figures on one side of most of our notes and Queen Elizabeth on the other, as we are a commonwealth country.

The colours aren’t exactly right, but see below:

Sir Edmund Hillary. You may remember that he was the first dude to climb Mt Everest in 53.


Kate Sheppard lead the suffragette movement in the late 19th century and helped NZ to become the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893.


NZRB website: This note features an official portrait of the Queen taken at Government House, Wellington, on 26 February 1986 by Ronald Woolf. Her Majesty is wearing the Sovereign’s Badge of the Order of New Zealand. The ribbon is based on a taniko pattern.


Sir Apirana Ngata was the first Maori to graduate from a New Zealand university, was an accomplished leader of the Young Maori Party and was an elected Member of Parliament for 38 years. He rejuvenated Maori culture in NZ and was respected and revered for this for many years.


Ernest Rutherford “changed the basic understanding of atomic science on three occasions”. He was from Nelson and received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1908.

For info on the coins, please see the NZRB site.

Current value of the NZD
according to Universal Currency Converter:

$1 NZD = .95 AUD
$1 NZD = .71 USD
$1 NZD = .41 GBP
$1 NZD = .60 EUR
$1 NZD = .82 CAD
$1 NZD = 85 JPY

Send all your questions to katmckenzie@gmail.com and let me help kill your curiousity.

And now I hide my head in shame.

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I thought I’d share some embarrassing celebrity moments. You know, just to make you all feel better when you finally meet Paris Hilton and she doesn’t call you hot.

Maria from Sesame Street:
I was in the US working at a camp in upstate NY. Part of your camp duty was that you were rostered on to different jobs around camp a few nights a week, and towards the end of the summer I was rostered on to work in the canteen with a few of the Australians. We were serving pizza and icecream and it was also Visiting weekend, so we were serving the parents as well.

I noticed a familiar woman waiting in line. I nudged one of the guys:

KAT
Isn’t that Maria from Sesame Street?

MARK
Yeah. Her oldest kid goes here.

KAT
Cool!

I moved over to another window and handed out some pizza and when I came back to the middle window, Maria was standing in front of me. She smiled and asked for strawberry.

KAT
Oooh hi.

MARIA
Hello..?

KAT
You taught me the alphabet!

MARIA
…..

Greg Page (director):
I fell asleep on his set. I’d been up til 3am the night before in a right state, crying and such, and by the end of the filming day I just couldn’t stay awake. I believe my mouth hung open, too. He said he didn’t want to wake me. I was so embarrassed. That’s true proof of how messed up I felt before my partner left the country – I let it affect my work like that.

Bernadette Peters:
After I loitered around the stage door before the show, not daring to go near her (even though she was out there talking to a fan and I would have been much more coherent), I waited til after the show to try and meet her and get a picture. She’s only my idol and all. I’d only travelled right across the world to get to NYC/Broadway to see her in a show. (Oh if only I’d prepared myself). I believe it went something like this…

KAT
Bernadette!

BERNADETTE
Hello.

KAT
I’m from New Zealand. I love you. I want to do Broadway- *breaks down into sobs*

WOMAN BEHIND ME
She’s only been standing out here crying for 15 minutes.

BERNADETTE
Oh, er..

KAT
Um. Can I get a picture?

BERNADETTE
Well, sure-

Kat turns awkwardly and points. Amy shoots. Bernadette moves on.

Wow, the professionalism. I guess everyone is a fangirl sometimes.