This coin set features the three coins issued in the Discover New Zealand series, a stream of commemorative coins showcasing New Zealand’s unique natural beauty. The coins in the series are united by a specially designed kaitiaki - guardian - that sits at the base of each coin. The kaitiaki not only acts as a unifying feature that acknowledges Māori as tangata whenua (the people of the land), but is a minder or caregiver, protecting the taonga (treasure) encapsulated by the coin.
The three designs are:
Tūī. The hero of this coin is a stunning photographic image of the tūī feeding from harakeke. The background of the central image is printed over a layer of white ink to highlight the bird in the foreground. Tūī are familiar to most New Zealanders, populating forest and suburbia throughout the country. While they look black from a distance, in good light their plumage boasts iridescent sheens of blue, green and bronze, and delicate white lacy feathering around the neck.
Aoraki Mount Cook. Featuring a beautiful illustration of Aoraki Mount Cook by NZ artist Ben Timmins. Local iwi (tribe) Ngāi Tahu considers Aoraki to be the most sacred of the ancestors from whom they descend. Aoraki provided a training ground for Sir Edmund Hilary, before he went on to scale Mount Everest.
Kōwhai. The coin depicts a collection of kōwhai flowers and leaves, with the flowers in full colour and the leaves in the silver of the metal. All elements are moulded and raised. The kōwhai is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most cherished trees, its vibrant yellow blooms and the birds that flock to them welcome signs of spring.
One of the coins was struck by the Royal Dutch Mint, and the other two by the Commonwealth Mint. The issuer of the coins, and of the set, is NZ Post - the company which issues all postal stamps, as well as the non-circulating (collector) coins of New Zealand.