Monday, July 10, 2017

Thames (NZ): Decimal Currency Fifty Years ago

What are your memories of the change to decimal currency in Thames and New Zealand?

If you were at school, there were endless lessons on the change and how the new denominations matched our old currency.

The excitement the first day was everywhere. Like many of my friends we couldn't wait till lunchtime and a trip to the nearby dairy for our lunch order. Everyone excited about the change and new coins that they received!

Children weren't the only ones who needed teaching. Local banks held education days for businesses. The Thames Star had been doing their bit to prepare the town with regular updates. They printed photographs of how the two sets of coins would be in-circulation during the initial introduction period.

The Bank of New Zealand (photo below) held evenings to instruct business owners how to complete normal banking transactions such as deposits to fit the new decimal currency format.

The new coinage was secretly delivered to Thames banks on the 31st May 1967, in preparation for the big day. The Thames Star was not even allowed to publish a photograph of the event until the 10th July. With the new coinage the cost of a pint of milk was four cents; and a loaf of bread was 11 cents.