Approximately 345,000 of the new banknotes have been dispensed to banks, the Reserve Bank’s head of currency Brian Hayr says.
However, this is a small percentage in the bigger scheme of things.
Hayr says there is about 45 million $5 and $10 notes from the previous series currently in circulation around the country.
He says the public might not see one of the new notes for some weeks.
“This is because the Reserve Bank distributes banknotes only when it receives orders from banks,” Hayr says.
“Orders for replacement of $5 and $10 notes come in less frequently than other denominations as they tend to circulate much more between retailers and consumers.”
Both series six and the new series seven notes will be legal tender and coexist.
The Reserve Bank estimates it will around 12 to 18 months for the majority of notes circulating to be new notes.
Hayr says the Reserve Bank has upgraded the banknotes this year to keep up with advances made in banknote security.
“Some new security features of the banknotes will be obvious, such as the holographic window on the right of the note and the colour-changing bird on the left,” Hayr says.
“We don’t have a counterfeiting problem in New Zealand, but we need to stay ahead of the game and ensure our banknotes incorporate the latest security features.”
An overview of the main security features:
The new notes have the same portraits and subjects as previous notes, but are in brighter, bolder colours.
They also feature additional Māori words on them, including Aotearoa and the names of native birds, such as kōkako.
The $20, $50 and $100 notes are likely to be released in April 2016.
For more information, see the full banknote handling guide for retailers and banks available here.