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.
No coins of the two dollars denomination were issued for circulation in 2012. Some were struck (in brass, with a mass of 11.25g unlike the 10g of standard circulating coins) for the mint sets and the proof sets of the year only.
Crowned mature head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right (effigy known as the "Fourth Portrait"). 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 Machin and the Gottwald portraits.
In tiny letters below the head, the artist's initials IRB (for Ian Rank-Broadley).
Around the effigy is the monarch's legend and the date: NEW ZEALAND ELIZABETH II 2012.
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.