The New Zealand two-dollar coin is the largest-denomination coin of the New Zealand dollar. It was introduced along with the small circulating one-dollar coin in 1990. Both are made from an alloy of aluminium and brass. It is also the largest and heaviest coin in circulation.
The 1997 New Zealand $2 coin was recalled quickly and destroyed because it was slightly wider than the earlier $2 coins, causing it to get stuck in vending machines and parking meters.
Crowned bust of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a pearl necklace, facing right (effigy known as the "Third Portrait"); incuse in tiny letters on neck truncation, the designer's initials RDM (for Raphael David Maklouf).
Around, the monarch's legend and the date: ELIZABETH II NEW ZEALAND 1997.
The reverse features an eastern great egret (a type of white heron, Ardea alba modesta; in Maori: kotuku) below curved decorations. The bird is sacred to New Zealand's indigenous Māori people, and highly endangered within the country, only inhabiting the Okarito Lagoon on the South Island.
Kotuku or white heron have always been rare in New Zealand and are revered by both Māori and pakeha for its elegant white feathers. This graceful bird has long, slender legs and a long, thin S-shaped neck, which has a distinct kink when flying. Kotuku are specially adapted for wading in shallow, muddy waterways: it has long legs that are bare of feathers to well above the ankle joint and long spreading toes. In New Zealand it only breeds near Whataroa, South Westland, between September and January.
The value and denomination, TWO DOLLARS, is curved below the bird.