Monday, 1 August 2016

How New Zealand Banknotes Are Made

This term we are writing explanations. We wrote about the process of producing the new Series 7 New Zealand Banknotes.

How New Zealand banknotes are made by Charlotte

Here in New Zealand there are 5 different types of  banknote denominations  $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Even though you could pay for things by using a credit card or debit card we still choose to use cash for many things such as paying for doing chores, giving gifts or school trips. Polymer banknotes were introduced to New Zealand in May 1999, before then cash was printed on paper made from cotton. The process of making New Zealand banknotes has four important stages the material, security features, design and printing.

The first stage in the process of making New Zealand's brighter money starts by selecting the right material. The material we use is called polymer, which is a type of polypropylene plastic.  Polymer banknotes lasts 4 times as long as the old paper banknotes. Since polymer banknotes last longer than paper notes this makes them much stronger too and less vulnerable to getting dirty.  The polypropylene plastic comes from Australia. Also polymer banknotes are environmentally friendly, when polymer banknotes get old or ripped, they get shredded and turned into plastic everyday items where paper banknotes get shredded and buried in landfill.  

The next step in producing New Zealand banknotes is integrating a number of security features. On our money we have lots of security features such as serial numbers, colour changing bird, puzzle number and micro printing. This makes our banknotes very safe but sometimes people try and copy our cash this is called counterfeiting.  To tell if anyone is counterfeiting you will need to take a look at the see through windows. Each note has two see through windows, one is oval and one has a curved fern leaf make sure both windows are properly embedded in the note if the windows look like they are stuck on then the note might be fake. Another way to tell if a note is fake is to slide your finger over the note  if you feel there are little bumps then the note is real if there are no bumps the note’s probably a fake, this is because polymer banknotes have something called micro printing. Security features are really important on banknotes to prevent lots of people copying money, this would be bad because you have to earn cash and not just sit at home photocopying money.  

After selecting the best material and security features for the banknotes the next stage is choosing a design. On New Zealand banknotes we have to choose some important New Zealanders. For example on the five dollar note we have Edmund Hillary the reason why he is on there is because Edmund Hillary was the first person to climb to the to of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in New Zealand, also on the 100 dollar note you will see that Lord Rutherford of Nelson, this man is on the 100 dollar note because he changed the basic understanding of science. On New Zealand banknotes you may also see a native New Zealand bird for example on the 5 dollar note you may notice the yellow eyed penguin and on the 100 dollar note you may notice the yellowhead. The designers also need to make sure to select the right New Zealand plant the twenty dollar note has the Marlborough rock daisy on it. The last step in the design process of New Zealand notes is to choose a place, the place usually connects with the person on it such as Edmund Hillary who has a snowy mountain in the background of the $5 note.

The final step of making New Zealand banknotes are printing. We send the material and designs to Canada, here they print it on the polymer plastic. Once that is done they varnish the sheet of  polymer notes to protect the colour from fading away.  Finally they slice the sheet  into individual banknotes. When they have done that the newly made banknotes get shipped back to  the the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Before being put into circulation and sent to shops, banks and ATM’S (Automatic Teller Machine).


  1. Great explanation of how banknotes are made Charlotte. I learnt some new facts.

  2. What a well-constructed text. I especially like how this piece uses precise vocabulary. Mrs Bhimy, Waikowhai Intermediate

  3. What a great text Charlotte. I love how you have write about the old notes and new ones and why the people,flowers and bird. Renee@wai