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New Zealand puts kiwi on coins


Reverse of New Zealand’s gold $10 & silver $1 proofs celebrating the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi, Rakiura Tokoeka. (Images courtesy New Zealand Post)

For each of the past two years New Zealand has issued coins depicting one of five species of the country’s national bird, the flightless kiwi. In 2017 the third coins in the series features the Rakiura Tokoeka or, if you prefer, Apteryx australis lawryi.

This is the largest of New Zealand’s kiwis. It occurs on Stewart Island, a.k.a. Rakiura, the southernmost of the country’s three main islands. It is a subspecies of the Southern Brown Kiwi that glories in the Maori name of Tokoeka. This translates as “Weka with a walking stick,” the Weka being a similarly colored, smaller, ground-living, New Zealand bird.

Rakiura Tokoeka stands about 18 inches and weigh upwards of 9 pounds. They have very long bills up to seven inches. Unlike other kiwis they are active during daylight hours.

Southern nights are short during the summer breeding season and females have the task of incubating the egg through the night. Consequently, they feed during daylight hours. Males get the job of incubating during the day and have to find their food at night.

Rakiura Tokoeka are classified as “nationally endangered” although their population is estimated at 13,000 birds.

Three coins will be for sale from December on from New Zealand Post or your favorite coin dealer: 1/4-ounce gold proof $10, and one-ounce silver proof and BU specimen $1s. Mintages are 500, 2,500 and 7,500, respectively.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• Check out the newly-updated Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date that provides accurate identification, listing and pricing information for the latest coin releases.

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2016 North American Coins & Prices guide.