NZ communities donate two tonnes of cash

Thank you! NZ communities donate two tonnes of cash

In the past month communities across the country have cleared out drawers and searched their sofas to collectively donate more than 2 tonnes of obsolete cash for Lion Clubs’ project Heads Up for Kids.

The two tonnes of cash, made up of old New Zealand and foreign currency, was dug out and donated following the project’s National Awareness Week in April.

“We’re delighted with the results. It goes to show that every little bit can make a big difference,” says Lion Club member and Heads Up for Kids currency processor Roy Peterson.

“We are currently processing the coins and banknotes, and estimate the value to be close to $50,000 in legal tender.”

Old and foreign currency has been donated from Northland to as far south as Invercargill. Over 600kgs alone has come from Auckland area and the Queenstown community have gathered more than 150kgs.

“Some of the coins date back to the 1700’s, and we’ve received old 10 shilling notes and currencies that are no longer in circulation. It’s amazing what people have stashed away,” Mr Peterson says.

The donations made at various collection points, such as Resene Colorshops are collected by project sponsor Fastway Couriers and delivered to the Heads Up for Kids HQ. Once compiled, the cash is processed into dates, types and denominations and then redeemed for legal tender. These funds are then used to support young New Zealanders to attend programmes that help them to build confidence and develop new skills.

“It’s important our young people are recognised and given opportunities that boost their confidence and provide a springboard for them to grow into great New Zealanders of the future,” says Mr Peterson.

“That’s 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 New Zealanders for supporting Heads Up for Kids. This old and foreign currency will make a big difference in the lives of our young people.”

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.

For more information and local photo opportunity, please contact Olivia Lacey
021 022 40312

Photo: Lion Roy Peterson with 300kgs of foreign currency ready for shipment.

Roy has processed 3.5 million coins since the project started in 2010 and thanks New Zealanders for their support.


Heads Up for Kids was launched in July 2010

Founded by Queenstown Lion Simon Hayes

To date Heads Up for Kids has collected more than 16 tonnes of old New Zealand decimal and pre decimal currency, and foreign coins and banknotes

Heads Up for Kids has funded over 75 young New Zealanders

Applications for funding can be found at

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.

Quotes from Heads Up for Kids recipients

• “My ten days on the Spirit of New Zealand were easily the best of my life. I was presented with so many challenges and opportunities that allowed me to develop skills and attitudes that I’ll carry with me forever. Over the duration of my voyage and the time since, I’ve reconsidered many things in my life and it’s fair to say that my experience has changed the path of my life” – Laura, Hamilton

• “I look at life in a whole new different way after completing Outward Bound. I now know how strong I am – which is much stronger, both mentally and physically, than I had previously thought. I learnt that life is much better if you make the most of every opportunity that is given to you ” – Harmony, Te Aroha

• “Something the Spirit taught me about myself was that “I can” whereas before the spirit I never really gave things ago that where outside my comfort zone for fear of looking an idiot or failing I now just get on & do it for I have nothing to lose and whatever happens I am guaranteed that I will learn something” – Anthony, New Plymouth



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