When decimal currency was introduced in New Zealand on 10 July 1967, there was no new circulating denomination with the size and specifications of the old one crown piece, in which only commemorative coins had been issued (the new fifty cents were equivalent in value but not in size). Until the introduction of the smaller circulating dollar coin in 1990, New Zealand issued crown-sized commemoratives with a one dollar denomination such as this one. Later crown-sized commemoratives are denominated at five dollars.
In 1974 there were two types of large dollar. This one commemorates New Zealand Day.
Crowned and draped young bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right (effigy known as the "Second Portrait", by Arnold Machin).
The Queen wears the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" diamond tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Mary (Her Majesty's grandmother) in 1947 - which she also has on the Rank-Broadley and the Gottwald portraits.
Around, the monarch's legend and the date: ELIZABETH II NEW ZEALAND 1974.
The reverse features an eastern great egret (Ardea alba modesta; in Māori: kotuku). It is sacred to New Zealand's indigenous Māori people, and highly endangered within the country, only inhabiting the Okarito Lagoon on the South Island. The image of the bird is the same as the one later used for two dollar coins, but flies to the left. Around above, NEW ZEALAND DAY 6 Feb..
Below the bird, the sun rising over waves. Below the sun in tiny letters, the designer's initials JB (for [Reginald George] James Berry).
Around below, the denomination ONE DOLLAR.