Furnace Operator Joel Catchillar recycles the old copper coins at A W Fraser in Christchurch.
The weird and wonderful Lions Clubs New Zealand project that takes unwanted currency and turns it into life changing experiences for Kiwi Kids will be celebrating its third birthday and 16 tonnes of cash on July 10th.
For the past three years, Lions Clubs across New Zealand with the support of Resene paints, New World and Fastway Couriers, have collected more than 16 tonnes of old New Zealand money and foreign currency for the Heads Up for Kids project.
Although unwanted, the magic of this collection is turning old New Zealand cash and foreign currency in something very valuable; funding for young New Zealanders to attend programmes that help them build new skills and develop confidence.
More than 80 youths so far have benefited from the funds raised, attending courses such as Outward Bound, Spirit of Adventure and the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre.
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," Said Mr Hayes.
New Zealanders have dug out and donated more than 3.7 million coins from all kinds of places, such as garden beds, down the back of the sofa, at the car wreckers and stashes from holidays and it's adding up to a significant amount.
"We've collected, sorted and counted more than $430,000 in unwanted currency since the campaign launched on July 10th 2010,"says says Roy Peterson, Silverstream Lion and Currency Processor for the project.
"Even though some of coins are in a pretty rough state when we get them," laughs Mr Peterson, "they all add up, and it's for a great cause."
It's an excellent way of recycling too. Brian Hayr, Head of Currency Property and Security 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."
"There is a large amount of old currency that has not been returned to The Reserve Bank and increasing numbers of the new lower value coins that appear to be stored by households. Even if only a small percentage of this currency is recovered it could have significant value," Mr Hayr said.
The Reserve Bank estimates there is $100 million in old NZ currency unaccounted for and Lions are aiming to collect $1 million.
Old money and foreign currency can be taken to any Resene Colorshop or retailer, participating New World stores in Remuera, Queenstown, Wellington, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Taranaki, and Hawkes Bay or call 0800 Old Money for a Lions Club member to collect.
Applications for funding are available on the Lions Clubs website www.lionsclubs.org.nz
The Currency Break Down
To date Heads Up for Kids has collected over 16 tonnes of coins and thousands of old NZ and foreign bank notes:
5.5 tonnes of old New Zealand currency has been exchanged at face value at the Reserve Bank
3.5 tonnes of copper coins have been sold and recycled
7 tonnes of old and current foreign coins and banknotes been redeemed for legal tender