Kiwi collectors coins bring back kōwhai after 22 year absence

5 December 2011

New Zealand Post has begun a new chapter in its highly successful series of collectors coins featuring our national symbol – the kiwi – lovingly pictured in pure gold and pure silver.

“We expect a warm reception for these coins based on their intrinsic beauty and on the popularity of the ‘Icons of New Zealand’ coin series we issued between 2008 and 2010,” Simon Allison, the Sales and Marketing Manager of New Zealand Post’s coins business says.

“The earlier icons series featured a kiwi alongside (respectively) a map of New Zealand (2009), the Southern Cross (2010) and the silver fern (2011). Those coins made their way to collections all around the world - with the ‘map’ coin selling out completely and only small quantities of the others available on our website.

The 2012 coins – which have just been released - are the first entry in a new three-part series called ‘Kiwi Treasures’ – which will be released between now and 2013.

“The 2012 entry in this series are stunningly beautiful coins – with the tails side shared equally between our most famous natural treasure the kiwi, and iconic New Zealand flower the kōwhai.

“The second and third entries in the ‘Kiwi Treasures’ series will come out at the end of next year and at the end of 2013 respectively, and each will feature the much loved kiwi alongside a different natural treasure.

Kōwhai’s triumphant return

The decision to feature the kōwhai on the 2012 coin will be a blast from the past for anyone who remembers 2-cent coins - more than 400 million of which were issued between 1967 and 1989.

“Every 2-cent coin featured the kōwhai as its ‘tails’ side - and the 2012 Kiwi Treasures coin is the first legal tender coin to feature the kōwhai since 1990 when 2-cent coins were withdrawn from circulation,” Simon Allison says.

However this time out the kōwhai coins have increased greatly in value and prestige. Three variations of the 2012 coin have been released – two are 1 oz pure silver coins which are 40mm across, while the third is 1/4 oz pure gold and measures 26mm across.

  • The entry level pure silver ‘specimen’ coin has a face value of $1 and sells for $79.00. It is available in a limited edition of 13,500.
  • The pure silver ‘proof’ coin, has the same face value ($1), but the engraving is more strongly 3D, featuring both polished and frosted highlights. Just 5,000 will be available at $129.00 each.
  • The rarest and most valuable coin is made from pure gold – certified as 0.9999. Only 950 of these $10 face value coins will be made available worldwide. The gold coin will sell for $895.

“When you look at the incredible journey the kōwhai has made on our coinage, it’s quite amazing,” Simon Allison says.

“The 2-cent coin was, by the end, a bit of a hassle - with a bulging handful being barely enough to buy a sandwich. By contrast these new Kiwi Treasures kōwhai coins are truly stunning limited-edition collector’s pieces – to be kept and passed on to future generations, or to be proudly put on display,” he said.

The 2012 ‘Kiwi Treasures’ kōwhai coins are available now through selected New Zealand PostShop stores, at REAL Aotearoa stores in Auckland and Wellington, online at, or by phoning 0800 NZ COINS (692 646) or 0800 88 88 72 (for Chinese speaking sales queries)


Note: New Zealand Post is authorised by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as the only official issuer of legal tender New Zealand commemorative coins.