Zealandia

As the fictional daughter of Britannia, Zealandia was intended to represent the personified British ideal of New Zealand nationhood.

The first use of an image of Zealandia on a BNZ banknote was on the 1902 No. 5 issue of the £1 bank note. Zealandia is seen in the foreground with with a sheep, kiwi and a cherub, Zealandia is resting on her shield. In the background you can see a stylized NZ landscape with river, fields, mountains and a smoking volcano. There are also industrial buildings and people in the fields.

The design of bank notes have always sought to reflect attitudes and culture of a time and place. Notes issued during a stretch of financial hardship see minimal designs. More prosperous periods are often accompanied by grand illustrations expressing culture and social ideals.

The second, and last BNZ note to depict Zealandia was the 1925 Uniform Issue £50 banknote. This was also the last bank note series created by the BNZ before the Reserve Bank of New Zealand took over this function in 1934.

BNZ Bank Note no. 5 issue 1 pound obverse 1902

BNZ Bank note Issue No. 5

Zealandia low res image

Drawing of Zealandia used for reference in bank note design

BNZ Uniform Bank Note 1925 50 pound obverse2

1925 BNZ Uniform bank note