I found my Dad’s apprenticeship papers from 1942. He started a five-year Cabinetmaking and Machining apprenticeship on 15 shillings (less than one pound) a week and would have ended it on 67 shillings (over three pounds).
I tried to use the RBNZ inflation calculator to see what the equivalent wages would be in today’s money but unfortunately it wouldn’t throw back past 1961. So I looked at what 1 pound would buy in 1942 (about $85.66 worth of stuff in today’s money) and what 3 pounds would buy in 1947 (about $200.68 worth now).
I don’t understand the apprenticeship system in New Zealand today, but a good place to start researching might be this Step by Step Guide to Becoming a New Zealand Apprentice.
A 1-shilling coin in 1940 looked like this one, which is for sale on eBay ‘Buy Now’ for US$ 49.99.
This shilling would have been made of .500 silver. In 1947 the coins began being cast in cupro-nickel instead.
New Zealand switched to decimal currency in 1967. Some people will remember this tune from that year.
The Reserve Bank Museum is terrific for this kind of history (if you’re into that sort of thing).