The Cook Islands dollar is the official currency of the Cook Islands (alongside the New Zealand dollar). The official currency symbol: $/c.
The Cook Islands dollar was established in 1987 and was pegged to the New Zealand dollar, which was still legal tender, with every Cook Islands dollar backed by a New Zealand dollar. The government introduced coins in denominations of $1, $2, and $5. The Currency Reserves Amendment Act of 1989 amended the required backing of Cook Islands dollars to 50% of the face value of the currency in circulation and 2% of the face value of the non-circulating currency. That fact caused an imbalance in NZ dollar support values, causing the rate of foreign exchange issuance and government budget deficits to rise to such an extent that the national debt was almost twice the annual GDP. In addition, commercial banks refused to convert the currency to New Zealand dollars, leading to capital flight and an economic crisis. The difficult financial situation led the government to reuse the New Zealand dollar as the country’s currency in April 1995.
In 2000, a 5 cent commemorative coin was introduced, followed by the 1 cent coin reintroduction in 2003. A new commemorative series was introduced in 2010, with denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50cents and $1. After the coinage reform in 2015, a new coin series were minted in denominations of 10, 20, and 50, and $1, $2, and $5. On 30 April 2016, all previous coins lost legal tender status.
The 20 Cooks Islands cents coin front design features the portrait of Elizabeth II (Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms), the name of the country, and the issue date. The reverse of the coin presents a fairy tern in flight, followed by another one over a tree branch and the denomination. This coin is part of the 2015 series, its rim is fluted, and its color is silver.
Text: ELIZABETH II COOK ISLANDS IRB 2015, 20 JB