New Zealand fifty-dollar note

Fifty dollars
(New Zealand)
Value50 New Zealand dollar
Width150 mm
Height72 mm
Security featuresWindow, shadow image
Material usedPolymer
Years of printing1999-present[1]
DesignSir Apirana Ngata
Design dateMay, 2016[2]
DesignKokako, Pureora Forest
Design dateMay, 2016

The New Zealand fifty-dollar note ($50) is the current middle denomination banknote of the New Zealand dollar.

The $50 note was introduced at the end of 1983.[3]


First Issue (1982-1990)[]

The 50 dollar note was issued in 1983 to fill the gap between the 20 and 100 dollar notes. The first issue had a portrait of Elizabeth II with a mango-orange (yellowish-orange) background. On the back is a morepork or ruru, New Zealand's only extant native owl. The owl is perched on a pohutukawa, a tree found on the New Zealand coast and often referred to as The New Zealand Christmas tree. The watermark is of Captain James Cook.

Second Issue (1990-1999)[]

The series was completely redesigned. These notes resemble the current series except for a few notable differences. First there is a metallic strip to the left of Sir Apirana Ngata. Secondly there is a latent image on the upper-right hand side of the note. Finally the note is made of a cotton-based substance, not polymer like the modern notes.[4][5] The colour was drastically changed to the current violet, partly to help distinguish it from the reddish orange of the $5 note.

Third Issue (1999-2016)[]

The third version of the fifty dollar note was issued on May 3, 1999. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand issued the updated note because it is expected to last four times longer than its counterpart, the paper banknote. The bank has also noted that the notes are non-porous (they do not absorb liquids) and are therefore much cleaner. The notes have much better features than the paper notes, which also deters counterfeiters.

Ngata, a member of New Zealand's Parliament for 38 years, who had an important role in Māori Renaissance, is now on the front. To the left of the portrait is Porourangi Meeting House, at Waiomatatini Marae on New Zealand's North Island, near the town of Ruatoria. On the back is the kokako or blue wattled crow, a species from the North Island. In the background is Pureora Forest Park on the North Island. The park is larger than 75,000 hectares.[4]

Fourth issue (2016-present)[]

The note was made brighter.[6]

Security features[]

The polymer note has a watermark of Elizabeth II on the right side. There are two transparent windows of a fern on the left and one on the right. When held up to the light the window will show a "50" in the center of the window. Above the fern window there is a fern printed on both sides; these will match up perfectly when held up to the light. When the note is put under UV light, a yellow patch should appear with the number "50" through the use of fluorescent dyes.[7]


  1. ^ "New Zealand's banknotes". Reserve Bank of New Zealand. 1999-05-03. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  2. ^ Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Explaining New Zealand's Currency" (PDF). Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  5. ^ "A New Zealand 10 Dollar Note". StockphotoPro. Archived from the original on 2012-09-14.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "The New Polymer Bank Notes" (PDF). Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-08-02.