On the death of King George VI in 1952, Princess Elizabeth became Elizabeth II. She was Head of the Commonwealth and queen of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation was held on 2 June 1953 and her portrait, by Mary Gillick, appears on the New Zealand coinage from that year.
The Queen's effigy on the 1953, 1954 and 1955 coins has a small variation from the standard in that there are no shoulder straps visible.
Reference to original information:
84th Annual Report of the Deputy Master and Comptroller of the Royal Mint 1953, p.8.:
"New Zealand - 250,000 crowns, 120,000 halfcrowns, 250,000 florins, 200,000 shillings, 1,200,000 sixpences, 4,000,000 threepences, 2,400,000 pennies and 120,000 halfpence were struck.
All bore on the obverse the uncrowned effigy of Her Majesty by Mrs. Gillick, O.B.E., together with the inscription "QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND". The reverse designs of the denominations from the halfpenny to the halfcrown were unchanged, but the reverse design of the crown was new.
It consisted of a Maori carving, surmounted by the crowned Royal Cypher, all between five-pointed stars, representing the Southern Cross, and the inscription "NEW ZEALAND CROWN 1953". Mr. T.H. Paget modeled the design in plaster according to a drawing from New Zealand. The design is illustrated in Plate A, Fig. 9.
7,000 specimen sets of all denominations were also supplied in cases."
The number "120,000" above seems to be a typing error though, as all catalogues agree on 720,000 plus 7,000 proofs.