By Matiu Hamuera for Re:News
And some New Zealanders think it’s a good time for a complete redesign - one that moves away from having the British monarchy on coins and notes used in Aotearoa.
A petition called Make our money reflect Aotearoa has been launched by university student Te Matahiapo Safari Hynes.
The petition calls on the Reserve Bank of New Zealand - the central bank of Aotearoa - to reconsider the design symbols on the notes and coins that have traditionally referenced the British monarchy.
Out of respect, Te Matahiapo says he wanted to wait until Queen Elizabeth II was buried before launching the petition.
On September 9, Queen Elizabeth II died after reigning for 70 years. Today is her funeral.
The 22-year-old from Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu said “we knew that because she had died, they would eventually have to create a new series”.
“This is going to come sometime shortly and so we want to get ahead of it as we've got a couple of years now to figure out what symbols represent us as a country.”
Updating the country’s money could take years
According to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, there’s no immediate impact on our current notes and coins.
It will take several years before coins featuring King Charles III will be introduced and even longer until stocks of $20 notes are used up.
On its website, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand wrote: “We manufacture these notes infrequently and do not plan to destroy stock or shorten the life of existing banknotes just because they show the Queen. This would be wasteful and poor environmental practice.”
So for New Zealand to update the currency, it would still have to go through the current stocks held by the Reserve Bank.
“The fact that there's a change in sovereign doesn't trigger a wholesale review of the currency,” the Reserve Bank of New Zealand external stakeholders senior advisor Peter Northcote said.
But that doesn’t mean a shift towards more nationally-unified symbolism is not on the cards.
“We don't have any plans at this stage to review what's on the currency but that’s not to say it wouldn’t happen in the future,” Northcote said.
Claiming our own identity as a nation
This is why Te Matahiapo is launching the petition now with the hashtag #ourownmoney, to encourage New Zealanders to consider what represents us as a country.
“These people who have never lived here, who will never be from this country, don't represent us. And instead, we want to put all these different things that we believe represent us as a country.”
‘“Whether they’re people, whether they're symbols like trees, like plants, like harakeke, whether they’re birds, whatever they are, those things represent us more than a monarchy that exists on the other side of the world represents us,” Te Matahiapo said.
He said it’s not about detaching from the Crown right now but about claiming our own identity as a nation.
“In no way is it trying to do things like call for us to become a republic immediately or for us to completely get rid of the head of state at the moment because those are far bigger conversations that require far more discussion.”
“But this is actually something really tangible, really easy and simple. It's something achievable in the next five years to have all of our money be people and symbols that represent us,” Te Matahiapo said.
Kassie Hartendorp, director of community campaigning organisation ActionStation, said right now is the perfect time to have this conversation.
“I think it's really important because our coins and banknotes are everyday items for most of us that tell a story of who we are.”
“It's not a new thing to do, we've often changed designs to show off our taonga and who we are, our local leaders are symbols that make us uniquely Aotearoa,” the Ngāti Pareraukawa uri said.
This story was first published on renews.co.nz. Re: makes videos, articles and podcasts covering important issues that matter to young New Zealanders. You can see more stories on their website.