Wellington Scoop

20 tonnes of old money brought to Wellington for Lions kids’ project

Press Release – Heads Up for Kids
Twenty tonnes of obsolete coins and bank notes – the equivalent weight of three elephants, 30 cattle or 4000 cats – has been brought to Wellington after being collected by Lions Clubs New Zealand project Heads Up for Kids.

This weighty milestone, made up of old New Zealand money, decimal and pre decimal, and foreign currency, old and current, has been reached with the help of New Zealanders across the country digging out their unwanted cash and donating at collection points such as Resene paints or to Lions Clubs.

The money, collected and transported to Wellington by project sponsor Fastway Couriers, is sorted and processed for legal tender then used to fund education and development programmes for Kiwi kids.

“We’re delighted to reach this milestone – It just goes to show that every little old coin donated can make a big difference,” says Lion Club member and Heads Up for Kids currency processor Roy Peterson.

“We’re still processing the coins and banknotes, and estimate the value to be close to $500,000 in legal tender.”

Old and foreign currency has been donated from Northland to as far south as Bluff.

National Coin Breakdown

Region Total Kgs collected Region Total Kgs collected
Northland 900 Tasman / Nelson 800
Auckland 5540 Marlborough 270
Waikato 1200 West Coast 220
Bay of Plenty 420 Canterbury 2010
Gisborne 300 Otago 2050
Hawkes Bay 410 Southland 205
Taranaki 490 Unknown locations 1090
Manawatu – Whanganui 550
Wellington 4100

“One of the great things about Heads Up for Kids, it turns something people don’t use into memorable and life changing experiences for young people.

“We [Lions Clubs New Zealand] would like to thank everyone who’s dug out and donated to Heads Up for Kids. This ‘unwanted’ currency will make a big difference in the lives of our young people,” says Mr Peterson.

Heads Up for Kids is an ongoing project and aims to reach $1 million dollar mark. Donations can be made at any Resene Colorshop, selected New Worlds or by calling 0800 OLD MONEY.


Heads Up for Kids was launched in July 2010
Founded by Queenstown Lion Simon Hayes
To date Heads Up for Kids has collected 20 tonnes of old New Zealand decimal and pre decimal currency, and foreign coins and banknotes
Heads Up for Kids has funded over 85 young New Zealanders
Applications for funding can be found at www.lionsclubs.org.nz/oldmoney
Read about Heads Up for Kids activities here – headsupforkids.wordpress.com

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand estimates that there is over $100 million in old New Zealand currency unaccounted for.

Old Money Facts: from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
• The average household has 200 old and foreign coins
• Men hoard far more coins than women
• The average New Zealander carries 9- 10 coins with them when they go out.
• The Reserve Bank issued over 500 million 5 cent coins between 1967 and 2006. About 350 million were never returned. If you put them in a line they would stretch from Wellington to Auckland and back 5 times

It’s an excellent way of recycling too. Brian Hayr, Head of Currency at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, says:

“Old coins returned to the Reserve Bank are sold for scrap. It is better for the country to sell the copper and nickel in old coins than have them sitting idle in peoples’ homes.”

Mr Hayr said “The Reserve Bank of New Zealand estimates there’s more than $100 million of pounds, shillings and pence, old decimal coins and banknotes sitting around in drawers or cupboards in households throughout New Zealand”.

“There is a large amount of old currency that has not been returned to The Reserve Bank and increasing numbers of the new lower value coins that appear to be stored by households. Even if only a small percentage of this currency is recovered it could have significant value,” Hayr said.

Heads Up for Kids benefits New Zealand youth, it also:
• Saves the taxpayer the cost of buying new coins, as the old coins are recycled
• Recycling copper and nickel. The metals that the older coins were made from can be sold for scrap metal and recycled.
• Boosts the economy, as it brings idle money back into circulation.

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