header Notes Collection

20 Dollars 1981, New Zealand

in Krause book Number: 173a
Years of issue: 1981 - 1984
Signatures: Chief Cashier: Mr. H. R. Hardie
Serie: Decimal system. The Fourth Issue
Specimen of: 1981
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 160 х 80
Printer: Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company, Whangarei

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Dollars 1981



James Cook

Captain James Cook (7 November 1728 - 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

Cook joined the British merchant navy as a teenager and joined the Royal Navy in 1755. He saw action in the Seven Years' War, and subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec. This helped bring Cook to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society. This notice came at a crucial moment in both Cook's career and the direction of British overseas exploration, and led to his commission in 1766 as commander of HM Bark Endeavour for the first of three Pacific voyages.

In three voyages Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe. He mapped lands from New Zealand to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean in greater detail and on a scale not previously achieved. As he progressed on his voyages of discovery he surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. He displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions.

Cook was killed in Hawaii in a fight with Hawaiians during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779. He left a legacy of scientific and geographical knowledge which was to influence his successors well into the 20th century and numerous memoria worldwide have been dedicated to him.

James Cook

It is possible, that the prototype image of James Cook on the banknote was the work by artist Nathaniel Dance, finished in London on 25 May 1776.


20 Dollars 1981

Portrait of the Queen

HM The Queen Elizabeth II. The photograph that was used of the Queen was taken in April 1975 by the late Reading-based photographer Peter Grugeon and later released for official use during the Silver Jubilee in 1977. It is one of the more popular images of The Queen. (Peter Symes).

Her Majesty is depicted wearing Grand Duchess Vladimir's tiara, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee necklace, the Royal Family Orders of King George VI and George V and Queen Alexandra's Wedding Earrings.


The Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara.

No tiara is complete without a fascinating backstory, and this one's even got a daring escape. Made by Bolin, it glittered at the Russian royal court on the head of Grand Duchess Vladimir until the revolution, when it was left behind as the family fled. A British agent and friend smuggled it out of Russia to rejoin the exiled Grand Duchess and her collection. After her death, the tiara was bought from her daughter by Queen Mary. It's worn often today by the Queen with pearl or emerald drops, or occasionally with no drops. The pearl drop option has been the most popular with the Queen in recent years, probably owing to her love of white gowns in the evening and accompanying white jewels.

Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee necklace

To mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, a committee of ladies was formed to raise money for a commemorative statue of Victoria’s late husband Prince Albert. The committee’s fundraising was quite successful, and they ended up raising far more than was required for the statue. An agreement was formed with the Queen that the excess should go to the St. Katherine’s Fund for Nurses. At the same time, some members of the committee decided that a portion of the funds should be used to purchase a necklace for the Queen - and this was also approved by Her Majesty.

The trouble was, the committee did not agree on the necklace. Some felt it would be wrong to spend the funds which had been previously devoted to charity on something else. Much discussion and debate ensued, as is described in depth in Hugh Roberts’ book The Queen’s Diamonds. (My favorite tidbit: Queen Victoria, angry that she wouldn’t get her promised necklace, shot down the prospect of a diamond badge commemorating the nursing fund by declaring she would “at once exchange it for another jewel”.

In the end, a compromise was reached and this necklace, made for £5000 (far less than the necklace originally proposed) from gold, diamonds, and pearls by Carrington & Co. was presented to Queen Victoria in 1888. It features a central quatrefoil diamond motif with a large pearl in the middle, topped by a crown and underlined with a drop pearl. The next four links in either direction are graduated trefoil motifs; the central piece and the six largest trefoils can also be worn as brooches.

Queen Alexandra’s Cluster Earrings

She is also wearing Queen Alexandra’s Cluster Earrings. The wedding gift from the future King Edward VII to his bride, Alexandra of Denmark. Also known as Queen Alexandra's Cluster Earrings, these two button earrings have large pearls surrounded by diamonds - 10 larger stones each plus smaller filler stones to create a full diamond ring. Like the brooch, these passed to the Queen via Queen Mary. They're now worn primarily at evening functions.

Royal Family Orders.

King George IV started a practice in the British royal family which continues today: the awarding of family orders. These are diamond-set portraits of the monarch suspended from a silk bow (the color varying by reign), and they are today given to female royal family members of the sovereign's choosing as a personal gift.

Royal Family Order George V

Queen Elizabeth was first given her grandfather George V's order, set on pale blue silk.

Royal Family Order George VI

Followed by her father George VI's, on pink silk, and she wears them both today. (A royal lady can wear all the family orders she has at once.) The orders are positioned on the left shoulder. They are worn for the most formal events, and can usually be seen on the Queen when she's at a tiara event.

In most renditions of this portrait, the Royal Family Order of King George VI is apparent below the left-hand shoulder of Her Majesty, while the uppermost portion of the Royal Family Order of King George V is apparent in only some renditions of the portrait. (Her majesty's Jewel Vault)

Various geometric patterns used to supply the necessary security and enhance the design. Value of note on top left and bottom right corners with the serial number opposite. Central portion carries the words: “This note is legal tender for....”.


20 Dollars 1981


The New Zealand Pigeon or Kererū (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) is a bird endemic to New Zealand. Māori call it Kererū in most of the country but kūkupa and kūkū in some parts of the North Island, particularly in Northland.

Of the large and well-defined group of fruit-eating Pigeons found dispersed over the sea-girt lands of the southern hemisphere, the single species inhabiting New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the finest both for size and brilliancy of plumage.

In its native country it is less esteemed for its beauty than for its value as an article of food; and to both Maoris and colonists, in every part of New Zealand, pigeon-shooting, at certain seasons of the year, affords agreeable recreation, wbile to many it is a source of profitable employment. Owing to the loud beating of its wings in its laboured flight it is readily found, even in the thickest part of the bush, and being naturally a stupid bird it is very easily shot ; so that in a favourable locality it is not an unusual thing for a sportsman single-handed to bag fifty or more in the course of a morning.

In some districts the slaughter has been so great during a productive season that the Pigeons have never afterwards recovered their numbers ; but in most of our woods, notwithstanding this persistent persecution, they reappear in each successive year in undiminished plenty. The "season" is indicated by the ripening of certain berries on which this species subsists; and the abundance of the birds is regulated to a great extent by that of the food-supply, which is more or less variable. A sporting gentleman pointed out to me a taraire grove at Ramarama, near Auckland, where in 1869 he found the Pigeons so numerous that he shot eighty-five in the course of two mornings; but in the following year, owing to the partial failure of the taraire berry, there was hardly one to be seen there.

In the spring and early summer it is generally very lean and unfit for the table; but as autumn advances and its favourite berries ripen, it rapidly improves in condition, till it becomes extremely fat. It is esteemed most by epicures when feeding on the mast of the miro, which imparts a peculiar richness to the flesh. In January the berries of the kohutuhutu, poroporo, kaiwiria, puriri, mangiao, and tupakihi constitute its ordinary bill of fare. From February to April their place is supplied by those of the tawa, matai, kahikatea, mapau, titoki, and maire. It is worth remarking that in localities where it happens to be feeding exclusively on the pulpy fruit of the kahikatea, it is not only in very poor condition, but acquires a disagreeable flavour from the turpentine contained in the seeds. Towards the close of this period also, the ti-palm, which comes into full bearing only at intervals of three or four years, occasionally supplies this bird with an abundant feast. These tropical-looking palms often form extensive groves in the open country or in swampy situations ; and when the Pigeons resort to them they are speared and snared in great numbers by the Maoris, an expert hand sometimes taking as many as sixty in a single day. In May and June it feeds chiefly on the miro and pate, when it reaches its prime and is much sought after. From July to September it lives almost entirely on taraire in the north, and on hinau, koeka, ramarama, and other smaller berries in the south. During the months of October, November, and December it is compelled to subsist in a great measure upon the green leaves of the kowhai (Sophora tetraptera) and of several creeping plants. It also feeds on the tender shoots of the puwha, a kind of sow-thistle ; and the flesh then partakes of the bitterness of that plant.

When the bird is feeding wholly on the dark berries of the wawao the colour of its flesh is said to become affected by that of the food.

In Maori legend, the Kereru’s iridescent plumage comes from the clothes Maui wore when he changed into a bird so that he could visit the underworld to look for his parents.


The pigeon is on the branch of Beilschmiedia tawa.

Endemic of New Zealand. Common throughout the North Island. In the South Island common from Cape Farewell east through the Marlborough Sounds. Extending south of their only in the east where it almost reaches Kaikoura (the southern limit is just north of the main town).

Evergreen tree up to 35 m. tall. Trunk straight, 1.2-2 m. diam., with buttressed base. Bark smooth, dark brown. Branches erect to spreading, slender to moderately robust. Young branchlets, leaves and inflorescences finely pubescent, hairs simple, pale golden. (New Zealand Plant conservation network)


On the background is Miro tree.

Miro (Prumnopitys ferruginea), is a large tree with fleshy yellow berries that turn bright red. It grows up to 25 m. high, with a trunk up to 1.3 m. diameter.

Miro (Podocarpus ferrugineus), kahikatea (P. dacrydivides), matai (P. spicatus) and rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) are trees on which snares were set for birds. Pigeons were also taken when feeding on the berries of Cordyline australis and taraire.

Denominations in numerals bottom left and top right. In words top left.


TDLR Portrait Bradbury Wilkinson Portrait

The De La Rue engraving represents The Queen with a more cheerful aspect, achieving this through slight differences around Her eyes and lips.

Bradbury Wilkinson's version of this portrait has less shading on The Queen's neck just above Her necklace, than is apparent on the De La Rue engravings. There are other subtle variations to the second version, noticeably in the patterns on Her Majesty's dress.

"Bradbury and Wilkinson" have changed the background light of the banknote. On the obverse are added some colorful checkers, and on the reverse one of the fruit of Miro is "ripe" (turned red). Reverse background became lighter.