The article below provides you with a glimpse of the historical meaning behind the artwork and symbols depicted on the Fijian Currency. The Fijian dollar is the basic unit of currency and is available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 $100. Coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. In 2017 to celebrate the outstanding Fiji 7’s Rugby Team, a commemorative $7 coin and banknote were made, if your lucky you may still find one as they are still in circulation today. You can also purchase them from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
1 Dollar Coin
The new front design features a Vokai (Banded Iguana), found on many islands of the Lau group. Banded iguanas are extremely well camouflaged and cryptic in nature and so are very rarely seen. They are at risk of predation by rats and feral cats on most islands and the mongoose causes the extirpation of iguanas wherever it is present. Recent genetic work on Fiji’s three species of iguana shows that each island population differs genetically and so all need to be conserved as distinctive populations.
2 Dollar Coin
The new front design features a Ga ni Vatu (Peregrine Falcon). The Peregrine Falcon is one of the world’s best-known ‘birds of prey. Fiji has a distinctive subspecies – nesiotes – or ‘the islander’. This subspecies is the darkest and according to many, the most handsome of all the Peregrines worldwide. For Fijians, the Ga ni vatu has a powerful mystique that stems perhaps from a now largely forgotten legend of a fabulous Ga ni vatu from the Yasawa Islands. In Fiji, the population of the Ga ni vatu is less than a hundred pairs and is believed to be declining
The new front design features a Nuqa-roro (Bi-colour Foxface Rabbitfish). Discovered in Fiji waters, this distinctive species was named in 1974 after the University of the South Pacific – uspi. It has since been found from Tonga to New Caledonia but remains relatively uncommon throughout its range. Nuqa-roro is an algal feeder and is sought after by the aquarium trade.
New front design features a Beka-Mirimiri, (Fiji Flying Fox) which is one of the world’s rarest mammals. It has only ever been recorded for certain on three occasions – most recently in 2009 by a team from NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, [a fully local environment NGO] and on all occasions in the upland cloud forests of Taveuni, at elevations near or higher than 1,000 metres. The Fiji Flying Fox is a very distinctive species with no close relatives. Because of its rarity, nothing is known of its behaviour and ecology.
The new front design features a Kakã (Kadavu Shining Parrot). Fiji’s shining parrots are a strikingly beautiful group of two to six varieties. The most distinct of them is the Kakã or Kadavu variety which is generally accepted as a full species. While the red of the other varieties is a subdued darkish red varying to a deep burgundy, the underparts of Kadavu’s parrots are bright scarlet or crimson. Kadavu parrots also display a bright blue patch on the back at the base of their necks. Formerly, the red feathers of Fiji’s parrots were central to an almost Pacific-wide trade, in fact, they were the currency of trade for many of the Pacific’s earliest inhabitants. Despite this and the advent of modern science we currently know next to nothing about the status, ecology, and behavior of the Kadavu parrot or its relatives in Fiji.
The front design features a Varivoce (Humphead Wrasse), one of the largest reef fishes in the world earning its name from the prominent hump that develops on the forehead of mature individuals. Adults are generally solitary and spend the day foraging on the reef, using their tough teeth to consume hard-shelled species such as mollusks, echino-derms, and crustaceans. Varivoce is extremely long-lived, known to survive for at least 30 years, and take around five to seven years to reach sexual maturity. Although now protected in Fiji, the flesh of this fish is highly prized and it remains one of the most highly sought species.
Many of us are aware that there was a time when people did not need money and relied on the land and the sea to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. As more complex social structures emerged, self-sufficiency was no longer enough. Increasing contact between different tribes and communities brought about the concept of swapping or barter of commodities such as trading a cow for five pigs or a bundle of dalo for a bag of rice.
Europeans were the first to bring money to Fiji. During the early nineteenth century, visiting ships’ captains bartered with Fijians for sandalwood and beche-de-mer. However, once a European settlement was established, hard currency was required by planters and traders to conduct business with the outside world. Attempts at commercial development of these islands were hampered by the lack of any acceptable tender until the establishment of the Pax Britannica in 1874, a period of relative peace in Europe and the world (1815-1914) during which the British Empire controlled most of the key maritime trade routes and enjoyed unchallenged sea power.
Before the founding of a recognized regulator of currency in Fiji, paper money used included bills of exchange, cheques on colonial banks in Australia, New Zealand as well as Tonga, notes in hand, drafts, promissory notes, currency tokens, foreign currency, and certificate of indebtedness.
Polymer banknote | Polymer banknotes are banknotes made from a synthetic polymer such as biaxially oriented polypropylene. Such notes incorporate many security features not available in paper banknotes, including the use of metameric inks. Polymer banknotes last significantly longer than paper notes, causing a decrease in environmental impact and a reduced cost of production and replacement. (Wikipedia, 2022)
The front design features Fiji’s endemic Kulawai (Red-throated Lorikeet), our smallest member of the parrot family. Predominantly green, the Kulawai is a very rare inhabitant of the mountain forest canopy which feeds on nectar and pollen. Kulawai has only been recorded from Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, and Ovalau. The last confirmed sighting was in 1993 and searches in the last few years have failed to find it.
The arboreal ship rat Rattus rattus, a common rat in Fiji’s forest is an aggressive predator of small nesting birds and is believed to be the major culprit in the demise of the Kulawai. A clear window with an image of an i-Taukei man is featured on the note. An image of a Kato ni Masima (salt basket) is also featured on the front of the note. The Back design features Fiji’s endangered Crested Iguana, endemic Balaka Palm, Masiratu flower, and Mount Valili in Vanua Levu.
The front design features Fiji’s endemic Beli (Lever’s Goby). Beli is one of few true freshwater fish, living all its life in fast-running freshwater as it flows over stones to which they often attach. Beli are widespread and found in mid reaches of clear streams on all the high islands, sometimes over a hundred meters above sea level. They are generally absent from muddy water and are threatened by alteration in either water flow or water quality.
Their presence in any river is an indicator of good habitat quality and minimal catchment disturbance. An image of i Buburau-ni-bete (duck dish) is also featured on the front. The back design features the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva in 1914 and the Joske’s Thumb in the background.
The front design features one of the world’s iconic rare birds, the Kacau ni Gau(Fiji Petrel) which is known to nest only on Gau Island in Fiji. Experts believe that no more than 50 pairs survive. For much of its life, the Kacau ni Gau is a true ocean bird and remains at sea probably well outside Fijian waters for months on end. Adults return to Gau only to breed in a burrow in the upland forests, and do so only at night and leave for the ocean before dawn.
The Kacau ni Gau is almost never seen on the island, except when individuals are blinded by the light and become grounded in villages. Research over many years has failed to find the nesting sites but this activity is continuing. The Kacau ni Gau has a very distinctive flight style which helps to make it stand out.An image of a Foa (Rotuman coconut scraper) is also featured on the front. The back design features the fishing, forestry, sugarcane, and mining industries of Fiji. Mount Uluinabukelevu in Kadavu is also featured in the background.
The front design features the Tagimoucia (Medinella Waterhousei) flower which is perhaps Fiji’s best-known flower and has, in the past, been recommended as the national flower. It is the subject of songs, stories, and folklore. Tagimoucia is a liana of the upland forest and where it occurs it often flowers profusely in bunches of vivid scarlet petals contrasting with the pure white centers.
The name Tagimoucia is synonymous with the plant in its home in upland Taveuni around the lake with the same name, but Medinella waterhousei also occurs on Mount Seatura in Bua. An image of a Wasekaseka (Whale’s tooth necklace) is also featured on the front. The back design features a culture and heritage theme with descriptions of a traditional Tabua and Yaqona Vakaturaga ceremony.
The front design features Fiji’s Nanai (Cicada). Fiji has the richest fauna of cicadas in the southwest Pacific with 19 species, all of which are endemic. Cicadas are well known for their loud calls, some of which resound through Fiji’s forests. Larval cicadas live underground and feed on the sap from the roots of forest trees. They then emerge, shed their larval skins, and enjoy a short, noisy adult life in Fiji’s forests.
Maka is the common Fijian name for cicadas in general, but the Nanai is unique due to its striking appearance. Nanai is extremely well known to the inland communities of Viti Levu as it emerges in enormous numbers once every eight years and is not otherwise seen. An image of a Buli kula (Golden Cowrie) is also featured on the front. The back design features the map of Fiji with 180º Meridian Line marking the dawn of a new day, smiling faces representing Fiji’s friendliness, a cruise boat for island hopping and tourists snorkeling.