Misprint sees new bank notes feature David Bain, Nek Minute guy

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler says Levi Hawken will likely find himself featured on the $5 note for at least the nek fifty years.

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler says Levi Hawken will likely find himself featured on the $5 note for at least the nek fifty years.

An embarrassing misprint of New Zealand’s new bank notes has resulted in them featuring images of David Bain, Jon Gadsy, and the Nek Minute guy, in a mistake that the Reserve Bank now says is irreversible.

The Bank has been preparing for the distribution of the new-look notes, due for rollout in October of this year, for some months now, and an initial print run commenced this week at Warehouse Stationery’s photocopying desk.

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler said that Warehouse Stationery had been chosen for the important task as it was “sort of cheap” and they were “very experienced” at doing “this sort of thing.”

But the popular retailer appears to have made what has been described as “a small error” regarding the famous and legendary New Zealanders featured on the new notes.


Traditionally, the nation’s $5 note has featured world-renowned beekeeper Sir Edmund Hillary, the $10 note women’s suffrage activist Kate Sheppard, the $20 note Queen Elizabeth II, the $50 note Sir Apirana Ngata, and the $100 note Lord Ernest Rutherford. This was not intended to change, said Wheeler.

But the first print run of the new notes, completed this week, instead features now-acquitted quintuple-murder accused David Bain ($100), comedian Jon Gadsby ($10), Nek Minute guy Levi Hawken ($5), and British television host Jeremy Kyle ($20), who is not even from New Zealand.

The $50 note is emblazoned with a possum.


Wheeler has described the mistake as “obviously not intentional” but said it was now out of the Reserve Bank’s hands.

“Frankly, there’s nothing we can do at this point,” he told media this afternoon. “Yes, obviously we’d rather have Sir Ed on here, but now we’ve got, well, whoever this is.” He squinted at a $5 note, turning it over several times in confusion.

“Next Minute Man,” he clarified. “It’s now Next Minute Man.”

Wheeler said the process of restarting the printing from scratch was “too expensive” and time consuming.

“Like it or not, these are our notes now,” he said, “and will be for the foreseeable future.”


Prime Minister John Key weighed in on the new bank notes today, saying he thought they were “fine.”

“Oh look, they’re all New Zealanders, aren’t they?” he said. “Well okay, not Jeremy Kyle, but there was already a British person on that note, anyway, so that’s fine.”

Key described the notes as “fun” and “more modern.”

He would not rule out a similar thing happening following this year’s flag referendum.

A series of snap polls taken by 3 News this afternoon show that New Zealanders are “generally more familiar” with the figures on the new notes, than those on the old ones.