2007 New Zealand Tuatara
Celebrate one of New Zealand's most recognised, and rarest, endangered animals.
For almost 40 years, this ancient creature was the face of New Zealand's five cent coin. With this coin being removed from regular circulation in 2006, this is your chance to honour the tuatara and obtain your own coin to treasure.
Commonly confused as being a lizard, the tuatara is in fact the last remaining member of the Sphenodontia reptile group which included many other species during the age of the dinosaurs, 200 million years ago.
The name tuatara is a Maori word meaning 'peaks on the back', which accurately describes the prickly look of the body of this creature. These spines are much more pronounced on a male than they are on a female tuatara.
Due to the growing threat from both people and predators, the tuatara is only found in New Zealand and now only survives in the wild on protected off-shore islands and conservation areas. Recently, and for the first time, 70 tuatara were released back into the wild on the mainland at Wellington’s Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.
In order to increase the active conservation of the tuatara, their plight needs to be highlighted which makes this animal the ideal focus for the 2007 annual coin issue.