New Zealand uses the New Zealand Dollar as its circulation currency for daily transactions. The country also issues a number of commemorative and collector coins, including in the large two ounces of silver format (abbreviated as 2 oz Ag, where "Ag" comes from the Latin word for silver, Argentum). Authorised by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the official issuer of these coins is NZ Post - which also issues the country's postal stamps. Manufacturing of the coins is commissioned to various foreign mints.
The coins are "Non-Circulating Legal Tender" (NCLT) and not bullion because they are issued at prices much higher than their intrinsic value and are targeted at collectors who appreciate them for their artistic or sentimental value, and not at bullion investors.
New Zealand has the tradition of issuing one large commemorative per year which is considered "the" annual coin, and the coin for 2021 features the extinct Auckland Island Merganser.
Mergansers are fish-eating waterfowl. The Auckland Island merganser Mergus australis was first discovered in 1840 after two French corvettes arrived at the rarely visited islands. Over the following 60 years around 20 specimens were collected, and is thought there were probably no more than 30 breeding pairs at any one time. The last sighting was in 1902, and by 1910 the species was declared extinct, primarily due to predation by introduced mammals, and collecting for museums. Fossil evidence shows that a similar species once occurred around coasts and in inland waterways of New Zealand, but became extinct by 1500 AD, not long after the arrival of humans.
Home to some of the rarest birds in the world, the remote Auckland Islands sit 465 km south of the New Zealand mainland. These are the largest of New Zealand’s subantarctic islands, made up of the remains of two ancient volcanoes broken apart by glaciers. Rich biodiversity has earned this collection of islands a reputation as the Galapagos of the Southern Ocean. With no permanent human inhabitants, this UNESCO World Heritage site now stands as one of the last great protected wilderness areas on Earth.
This is New Zealand’s first-ever 2oz silver coin with 38.6mm diameter.