One million coloured coins will be released next month to mark the centenary of the Anzac landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

The special 50c features New Zealand and Australian soldiers standing back to back with their heads bowed in remembrance on one side and Queen Elizabeth II on the other.

It is New Zealand's first coloured coin and was unveiled today at Government House in Wellington by the Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler.

Sir Jerry said the issuing of the coin was a tangible way to pay tribute to the "comradeship, a steadfastness and a promise" that existed between New Zealand and Australia.


They represented a "golden opportunity" for children to ask and learn about the Anzac history.

Mr Wheeler said it was the first coin in the world in which technology was used to imprint vibrant, high resolution and durable colour to be stamped on the coin once it was minted.

While the coin was legal tender, Mr Wheeler said many people might collect them.

"When people pass on Anzac coins to their children and grandchildren, future generations will be reminded of the strength of the Anzac spirit and the men and women who served and continue to serve our country."

New Zealand Post Group chief executive Brian Roche said artist David Burke had been commissioned to create the coin's design.

The coins were minted and colour stamped by the Royal Canadian Mint.

'A fantastic honour'

Six of the commemorative coins were handed out to students and youths by Sir Jerry today.

One of those presented with a coin was James Costello Ladanyi who won a school competition to travel to Gallipoli for celebrations this year.

The 19-year-old won the competition two years ago.

He said he would take the coin with him and he hoped the other 24 youth ambassadors would do the same.

"Obviously it's quite symbolic so for us heading over for the centenary, it would be nice to have a piece of history with us to take along.

"Whether we hang onto it or whether there's someone desperately trying to swap it with us - who knows? But we'll see that when we get over to Turkey."

It was a "fantastic honour" to be presented with the coin - especially as it was one of the first to be handed out, he said.

"Very, very happy to be part of history."