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Object: Tea Towel, ’New Zealand Dollars and Cents’

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Title Tea Towel, ’New Zealand Dollars and Cents’
Production Unknown (designer), 1967, New Zealand
Medium summary Printed cotton
Materials cotton, ink
Classification kitchenware, souvenirs, dish towels
Dimensions Overall: 670.50mm (Height) x 580mm (Length)
Credit line Gift of Claire Regnault, 2012
Registration number GH017595

New Zealand Dollars and Cents

On 10 July 1967 New Zealand switched from the British Imperial system of pounds, shillings and pence to the decimal currency system. In order to educate New Zealanders about the impending change, the Decimal Currency Board employed a range of strategies including the creation of 'Mr Dollar' - a mascot who promoted the change - catchy jingles, plastic practice money and conversion charts for popular shopping items. This tea towel, which features 'Mr Dollar' in instructional mode, was issued with the sanction of the Board.

The tea towel features illustrations of the new coinage alongside a range of female-centred products - clothing, accessories and cosmetics - and conversion prices. The chart is clearly aimed at a female audience, who it was perceived could absorb lessons about the currency change while carrying out household chores.

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