New currency in town

01:43, Jan 31 2009
SHOW ME THE MONEY: Wairarapa Green Dollar Exchange spokersperson Hayden McGrail shows off the new notes at Masterton printers Printcraft.

They say there's no substitute for cold hard cash, well there is now a new more colourful currency in town.

The Wairarapa Green Dollar Exchange are introducing new cash notes that can be used to purchase local products and services.

Spokesperson for the exchange, Hayden McGrail says getting the vouchers printed has been a real thrill for the whole organisation.

"We are excited about the potential that the vouchers have to involve and benefit the Wairarapa as now non-members can participate in our community currency for the first time."

18,000 vouchers are being printed with a total face value of 76,500 WAIS, pronounced 'wise'. They will be introduced slowly as members withdraw the vouchers from their exchange accounts and non-members purchase them.

Each of the six denominations feature an iconic Wairarapa scene including daffodils, Castlepoint, the Fell Engine, the Tararua Ranges, Greytown town centre and grapes. Local computer graphics tutor and artist AJ Hunter designed the vouchers and comments that they "are some of the prettiest things I've done". He suggests the vouchers could become popular as unique Wairarapa souvenirs.

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The vouchers have been printed on high quality, durable, synthetic paper.  The intricate design on the notes are not only

colourful and attractive but extremely difficult to copy due to their high resolution. Each note is also serial numbered.

Work is now underway on the next phase of bringing local businesses onboard. While the vouchers are currently accepted at the Green Dollar Exchange's monthly markets Mr McGrail says the real benefit will come when a good number of Wairarapa retailers accept the vouchers as part or full payment for their goods and services.

"All Wairarapa businesses know the benefits of stimulating the local economy and keeping the profits in the region, WAIS vouchers fit  perfectly with this value," he says.

Wairarapa people should see 'WAIS Vouchers Accepted Here' signs in participating shop windows very soon.

Mr McGrail says they will be an ideal promotional tool for any business wanting to distribute gift vouchers but don't want to produce their own as these are ready to go. Many businesses and groups use petrol and other gift vouchers as rewards, reimbursements and payments hopefully they will soon opt for these vouchers of ours.

Mr McGrail asserts that the Green Dollar Exchange is not creating or "printing money" as WAIS vouchers can only be issued from one of our exchange accounts and the sum of all our accounts added together is zero.

"They are simply our Wairarapa green dollars in a paper form that anyone can use," he says.

The face value of each note is currently equivalent the New Zealand dollars.

"Our group has 18 years of practical experience behind us already," says Mr McGrail.

The group is anticipating its 500th new member joining up very soon and is bracing itself for the interest being generated by the vouchers, locally and overseas. The group is holding a "Get WAIS" information tonight (Wednesday) in the Carterton Senior Citizens Hall starting at 7pm.