Petition wants late queen off banknotes but Aussies beat Aotearoa to the punch

By Mārena Mane

A petition that wants the late Queen replaced on Aotearoa's currency with an image representing Māori and Aotearoa was set up late last year following her death.

But the Aussies may beat New Zealand to the punch because the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the Australian $5 note is to be replaced with an indigenous design.

The Reserve Bank of Australia wants to update the note with a new design that honours the culture and history of the first Australians.

The founder of the petition called #OurOwnMoney, Te Matahiapo Safari Hynes from Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu, says he has not had a face-to-face meeting with the Reserve Bank but officials told him by email the bank would eventually put King Charles III on future currency, which Hynes says has given him fuel to fight the decision.

“In my opinion, to have your face on the notes should be reserved for a chiefly status. A position for a person who has worked hard for the people and I don’t believe that King Charles has done enough for the Māori people,” Hynes says.

Should Aotearoa follow suit?

Aussie decision welcome

“They have made statements that they have already decided that Charlie’s face will be on the notes but they haven’t really sat down to discuss it. I think that decision should be stopped and overturned.”

Australia's move to replace the Queen on their money with the blessing of its federal government brings joy to Hynes.

“I think this is a challenge to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Australia didn’t wait for a petition or a protest to get their money changed. They made that decision because they wanted to,” he says.

A senior indigenous management consultant in Australia, Rose Graham from Waikato, Ngāi Te Rangi says New Zealand should follow suit.

“Symbolically, it really starts to solidify the identity of the indigenous people in Australia because for so long we have represented the Commonwealth and the Queen but Australia does have its own identity and I think that representing the indigenous people in that way is a really awesome thing and yes I think New Zealand should do the same.”