In a post-Cabinet press conference on Tuesday, Minister of Finance Mark Brown said he was excited to launch the new Cook Islands coins as part of this year’s celebration of 50 years of self-government. Brown recently returned from the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra where he struck the first of six new Cook Islands coins. The Mint’s chief executive, Ross McDiarmid, told Radio New Zealand the push to make new coins began four years ago when some Pacific Island countries were told some of their coins had reached a stage where the purchasing price of a coin might be greater than its face value, creating a negative return on it.
“So we have looked at refining the materials, looked at the sizes of the coins and came up with a solution.”
The new coins will come in 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, $1, $2 and $5 denominations.
The 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent coins will be made of nickel plated steel and will be silver in colour.
The $1, $2 and $5 coins will be made of aluminium bronze and will be coloured gold.
Brown said it was important for the Cook Islands to have its own coins for its national identity.
“Tourists recognise our coins; they particularly identify the $1 and $2 coins,” he said.
The Cook Islands is one of only a few countries with a a widely-circulated five dollar coin and one of only two in the world with a triangular two dollar coin. The other is Bermuda’s ‘Triangle’ coin. As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, collectors’ editions of the Cook Islands coins will be released as well as a special commemorative coin.