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Stamp of approval for images

Johnsonville photographer Rob Suisted will soon have more of his images in people's back pockets, after they were selected for the 2014 New Zealand Stamp Collection and the Reserve Bank's new fakeproof bank notes.

The $5 and $10 notes come into circulation next October and the rest will follow six months later.

After being approached by the Reserve Bank, Suisted was told several months ago that up to six of the images in his collection would be used on each of the new banknotes.

"I was very proud - it took a while to sink in," he said.

"Having something on the country's banknotes is unique."

Suisted said his father was elated at the news.

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"He said it was as if I had been selected for the All Blacks - but being an accountant, he would say that."

The new designs features 20 images of well-known flora and fauna - and even magic mushrooms - set against brighter and bolder colours.

"Isn't it great that we are celebrating magic mushrooms on a $50 note!" Suisted said. "It's amazing that New Zealand celebrates its environmental flora and fauna on its banknotes."

Suisted, who has worked as a photographer since 2005, travels the country with his cameras each year.

He has 60,000 images of New Zealand wildlife - the country's biggest personal collection.

For the fourth consecutive year, Suisted's image is on the cover of the annual stamp collection, as well as on eight of the stamps.

He was contracted to get images of a powelliphanta snail, taken at the top of Takaka Hill near the Abel Tasman National Park.

It took him nearly half a day to get the perfect cover image.

"I was camping in the snow finding snails then coaxing them out of their shells.

"It took four hours - from the 'purpose-built studio' in the back of my jeep.

"No-one [else] has got photos of these."

Suisted and Ngaio writer Harry Broad won the Booksellers Choice Award at the New Zealand Post Book Awards in August.

He said 2014 has been a good year and was pleased his images will shortly be in the hands of all New Zealanders.

"Stamps and money - it's something that Kiwis lick or fold."

The Wellingtonian

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