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Visiting New Zealand- Currency Facts

Visiting New Zealand- Currency Facts

NZ Currency
Are you thinking of visiting New Zealand! Whenever you visit any country you obviously need currency of that country to stay, travel and buy yourself your needy things. You also are aware that your currency gets converted into that other country’s currency is a exchange rate fee easily.

Here you will find all about New Zealand’s currency so that when you visit this country you are not stuck with some unknown facts about the money of that nation.

  • New Zealand’s unit of currency is the dollar (NZ$). All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely.
  • There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report.
  • Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres.

Historical Facts

Introduced in 1840, the New Zealand Pound was the first official currency of New Zealand. Until that point, both British and Australian coins circulated in New Zealand, and continued to do so until 1897. The Pound banknotes were produced by the six different trading banks until 1924, when a single uniform design was implemented. A decade later, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand was established.

The idea of decimalization was first raised in 1933, but was not put into place until 1967, when the New Zealand Dollar replaced the New Zealand Pound. There was much public discussion over what the new currency would be called, with ideas such as ‘kiwi’ and ‘zeal’ being proposed, but in the end, the term ‘dollar’ was chosen.

The New Zealand Dollar was initially pegged to the US Dollar at a rate of 1.62 USD to 1 NZD. The peg rate changed multiple times until 1985, when the currency began to freely float in the market. In 1979, a new design for the New Zealand Dollar was released in an attempt to modernize, with the new bills being made of polymer. Since that year, there have been no coins under the value of five cents and the value of cash transactions are rounded.

Present Facts

New Zealand dollars are currently circulated in values of 10 c, 20 c, 50 c and $1and $2 denominations. Dollar coins are composed of copper plated steel, aluminum bronze and nickel plated steel materials. Coins show an image of Queen Elizabeth II on their front side and national symbols of New Zealand on their reverse side.

NZD banknotes in circulation include the denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. The obverse side of NZD notes feature notable New Zealand figures, while the back side is adorned with images of native New Zealand flora and fauna. From 1999 onwards all the paper notes have been replaced with polymer varieties. The main colors used in the circulating bank notes include green, blue, orange, red and purple.

Exchange Rates

You can calculate the value of your currency in NZ Dollars using the currency converter. The rate you are offered in your home country is likely to differ slightly.


There are many banks in New Zealand like ANZ, ASB Bank and Bank of New Zealand. New Zealand banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some are also during weekends. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are widely available at banks, along main shopping streets and in malls. International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN encoded. Check with your bank before leaving home.

  • Currency values – normal with bold
  • Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2.
  • Notes have values of NZ$5, NZ$10, NZ$20, NZ$50 and NZ$100.

How Much Will it Cost?

Here is a general guide of what you can expect to pay in New Zealand for a few common items.

  • A hotel breakfast: NZ$15-$40
  • Dinner: NZ$25-$70 per main meal
  • Lunch snack/sandwich: NZ$5-$10
  • Cafe lunch: NZ$10-$25
  • A postcard stamp to anywhere abroad: NZ$2
  • Big Mac Hamburger: NZ$5.10
  • Cappuccino: NZ$3.50-$4.50

Tipping and Service Charges

Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory – even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.

Goods and Services Tax

All goods and services are subject to a 15 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price. Visitors cannot claim this tax back, however when a supplier ships a major purchase to a visitor’s home address the GST will not be charged.

Swedish Rounding

Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to “rounding” of amounts either up or down. The Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system prices, ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up.
For example, a purchase of NZ$15.14 would be rounded down to NZ$15.10, and a purchase of NZ$15.16 would be rounded up to NZ$15.20. It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents.

Credit cards with “Smart Card” technology

Smart cards are payment cards that carry an embedded microchip allowing them to store encrypted, confidential information, and carry multiple applications from different industries alongside debit, credit, or prepaid payment applications. Please note these cards, which often have no magnetic strip, are generally accepted anywhere in New Zealand that has credit card facilities.

Travellers Cheques

Travellers cheques in any of the major currencies (British pound, Euro, US dollar, Australian dollar) can be exchanged into New Zealand dollars on arrival and are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores.