Currently, our coins and $20 notes feature the late Queen Lizzy. Now that her eldest son, 73-year-old Charles, is our new head of state, he is expected to appear on New Zealand currency and passports in the coming years.
A petition started by Te Herenga Waka student Te Matahiapo Safari Hynes is calling on the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, our money supplier, to replace references to the British monarchy in the next redesign of coins and notes with a symbol that better reflects Aotearoa.
“Imagine if instead of the monarch on our $20 note, we had figures like Whina Cooper, Eva Rickard, or Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia. Or on our coins, we had kōwhai blossom, harakeke, kawakawa, waka hourua, patu, or huia. We have a huge opportunity to explore these whakaaro.”
Craccum asked Auckland students how they feel about having the royals on our money and who or what they would choose to replace the King instead.
“Honestly fuck them. They should be gone—all of them. Bring assassinations back. And William. That balding weirdo. Just no. It’s the inbreeding. That’s the price you pay when your parents are cousins. I don’t have any suggestions on who could replace them on our money, but someone who actually does something aside from just stealing our money.”
Corey, host of Fukumodo’s Crate on 95bFM
“We’re only going to have him for like 10 or 15 years before he carks it. Is it worth it? I don’t think it is. I’ve seen a lot of memes putting iconic Māori individuals on the $20 note, like Billy T. James. I reckon we should put more of our people on there. Indigenous leaders that people can look up to would be a nice way to go.”
Rosarina, Health Science and Psychology
“For me, I like to stay neutral in the sense that ignorance is bliss. But I’d prefer a kiwi. Dame Whina Cooper. I’d go with her.”
Alice, Anthology and Criminology
“I like the Queen because she’s a girl boss. I don’t know how to feel about having a King for the rest of our lives. We should keep her on the money. There are already historical figures on other notes, and most people have had her as their Queen for most of their life. She slays.”
Sarah, Law and Arts
“I don’t use physical cash often enough to actually care. But I think it’s quite outdated—it’s like holding onto the colonisation of Aotearoa and I kind of think we’re past that now. Surely put Lorde or Six60 on there.”
“I don’t really respect them as people or think that highly of them, especially because of the history of the colonisation in New Zealand. We have a lot of Māori leaders, especially the leader of Ngāti Whātua, who originally gifted the land for Auckland. He is one of the most significant people in our history and deserves to be honoured.”
“At least with Queen Elizabeth—I’m not really a big fan of her—but she had more of a part in New Zealand’s history than King Charles. But I was thinking a prolific Māori figure, maybe like Hōne Heke, that is really a part of Aotearoa’s history and not just a random white guy.”
“To be honest, I don’t really care much about the Queen being on them. I feel like this question would be more important in Britain. But since we’re in New Zealand, we’re not connected to the British monarchy as much. Have you heard of CANZUK? I pretty much support it. I don’t really think we should leave the commonwealth, but I think having something more aligned with New Zealand’s identity would be good. Maybe a landscape would be better. If it’s a specific historical figure, it might offend one group of people.”
Holly, Media and Criminology
“I’m not a big fan. I don’t like him at all. As a person, he’s just not nice. And that fact that he’s going to be on our money. Just nah. I don’t want to see his face every day. We should have something relevant to New Zealand rather than just some random white guy overseas.”
Salotie, Film and Anthropology
“I have absolutely no faith in him as a human being. And also, he’s like the face of colonisation and western imperialism, so I really hate that— a gross, gross man. Maybe put people who have been impactful on this country. Or put some more birds on there, maybe a tree. At the same time, as a cynical person, they are so huge. How do you even start that process of getting them out of here?
Gabby, Communications and Psychology
“I don’t know what else we would have. But he’s old and going to die soon. It costs a lot of money to change, and by the time it comes, he won’t even be around. We should just keep it the way it is. We kept Sir Edmund Hillary, and he’s dead. Or just a big circle with a number inside. Like Monopoly money.”
Harry, Psychology (Bachelor of Science)
“Cash doesn’t affect my day-to-day life. It doesn’t play a large part in who I am. The reprinting seems like too much admin for what it’s worth. Maybe it would be nice to keep her on the note to remember her. I understand the monarchy is a key part of how we got here, but It feels a bit outdated. They don’t have as much power as they used to. I like the idea of keeping things close to home. Native birds, trees, and people who have been important to our culture and the development of our country. It would be cool to have an open conversation about it.”