New Zealand's five-dollar note, which features Mount Everest's first conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary, has been adjudged as the world's best banknote for 2015 by the International Bank Note Society.

The Society, a nonprofit educational organisation which has more than 20,000 members in close to 100 countries, picked the banknote sanctioned by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as a "clear winner" from among three dozen nominees.

The notes are assessed for “artistic merit and/or innovative security features”, including use of colour, contrast and balance.

The orange and brown $5 note displays a map of New Zealand in a polymer window as well as numerous upgraded security features.

In addition to Hillary, who passed away in 2008, the face features South Island’s Mount Cook and a colour-changing yellow-eyed penguin. The back design also features this rare penguin unique to New Zealand, as well as local flora.

Almost 150 new banknotes were released worldwide in 2015. The Society narrowed down the nominees to 20 from Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. India was not among these picks.

While Trinidad & Tobago had bagged the award in 2014, Kazakhstan was deemed the winner three times in a row before that.

For 2015, the runners-up were Sweden, Russia, Kazakhstan and Scotland.

The Swedish 20-krona banknote featuring children’s author Astrid Lindgren, who created Pippi Longstocking.
The Swedish 20-krona banknote featuring children’s author Astrid Lindgren, who created Pippi Longstocking.
Russia’s 100 Ruble note which contains illustrations of Crimean landmarks.
Russia’s 100 Ruble note which contains illustrations of Crimean landmarks.
Kazakhstan had won three times in a row from 2011-2013. Kazakhstan’s 20,000 Tenge note from 2015 features the Kazakh Eli monument in Astana.
Kazakhstan had won three times in a row from 2011-2013. Kazakhstan’s 20,000 Tenge note from 2015 features the Kazakh Eli monument in Astana.
Issued by Clydesdale Bank, the Scottish five-pound note has engineering entrepreneur William Arrol on the front, whose company built the Forth Bridge in 1890 and is still considered a marvel.
Issued by Clydesdale Bank, the Scottish five-pound note has engineering entrepreneur William Arrol on the front, whose company built the Forth Bridge in 1890 and is still considered a marvel.