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Lions Clubs celebrate two years and twelve tonnes of cash

Friday 20th July 2012

Olive Northrop donates coins at New World Thordon

Heads Up for Kids' youngest volunteer, Olive Northrop, at New World Thorndon

The unique and unusual Lions Clubs New Zealand project that takes unwanted currency and turns it into life changing experiences for Kiwi Kids will be celebrating its second birthday this month.

For the past two years Lions Clubs across New Zealand, with the support of Resene paints, New World and Fastway Couriers, have collected more than 12 tonnes of old money and foreign currency as part of the Heads Up for Kids campaign.

Although unwanted, the magic of this collection has turned the old New Zealand cash and foreign currency in something very valuable; funding for education programmes such as Spirit of Adventure, Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and Outward Bound.

Dozens of young New Zealanders from all corners of the country have benefited from the funds raised. Last month 10 students were awarded Heads Up for Kids scholarships after being nominated by their teachers and peers for their positive attitudes towards their school environment and community. 

Simon Hayes, Queenstown Lion and Heads Up for Kids founder believes that youth are our most precious asset and we need to support them.

 “It’s important our young people are recognised and given opportunities that boost their confidence and provide a springboard for them to grow into great New Zealanders of the future,” Said Mr Hayes.

The 2.3 million coins that have been dug out of gardens, found down the back of chairs and stashed away from holidays passed have been donated to the Lions Clubs project and are adding up to a significant amount. In fact, Lions Clubs have collected, sorted and counted more than $320,000 in unwanted currency since the campaign launched on July 10th 2010.

“We’re delighted with the success of Heads Up for Kids. The beauty of this project, in tight economic times, is that it isn’t taking real money out of anyone’s pockets. It’s overwhelming how many people have dug out their old NZ money and cash from overseas trips to help us in supporting New Zealand youth, “said Mr Hayes. 

It’s an excellent way of recycling too. Alan Boaden, Head of Currency at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, says: “old coins returned to the Reserve Bank are sold for scrap. It is better for the country to sell the copper and nickel in old coins than have them sitting idle in peoples’ homes.”

With the help of Resene paints and New World supermarkets, the money has been collected and the hefty donations transported by Fastway Couriers to various destinations, such as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, where it is redeemed for legal tender.

Old money and foreign currency can be taken to any Resene Colorshop or retailer, participating New World stores in Wellington, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Taranaki, and Hawkes Bay, or call 0800 Old Money for a Lions Club member to collect.

The Currency Break Down

To date Heads Up for Kids has  collected over 12 tonnes of coins and thousands of old NZ and foreign bank notes:

4.5 tonne of old New Zealand currency including

424,000 x 5 cent pieces

199,000 x 10 cent pieces

117,500 x 20 cent pieces

76,600  x 50 cent pieces

29,000  x  3d

3,400 x 2/6d   

2.5 tonne of copper coins (have been sold and recycled for copper)

5.5 tonne of foreign coins (have been redeemed for legal tender)


For more information and a photograph with your local Lions club and their weird and wonderful collection stories, please contact Heads Up for Kids Project Coordintor, Olivia Lacey (04) 471 0335 |                             


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