British Queen's portrait to be removed from all Fijian banknotes, coins
The portrait of British Queen Elizabeth II on all Fijian banknotes and coins will be replaced in 2013 with local flora and fauna signifying in many ways an end of an era, Fiji's central bank said Thursday.
Barry Whiteside, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji said members of the British Royal Family have featured on the Fijian currency since 1934 and Fiji is grateful to have had the privilege of this association for well over 78 years.
While it is sad to see the transition taking place, Whiteside said, it is time to move forward and promote Fiji's unique national treasure and the biodiversity that lies around the South Pacific country.
Fiji will have a new series of banknotes and coins from as soon as January 2013 with new flora and fauna designs of the island nation from across all denominations as the country reduces its links with the British monarchy.
A Currency Design Committee of eminent Fijians has been approved by Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama to oversee the selection of designs that would be introduced on the notes.
Work on the series of notes and coins started in February 2010 during the United Nation's declared Year of Biodiversity, Whiteside said, adding it is most fitting to recognize this important theme in Fiji's national currency.
The new notes and coins are expected to come into circulation with effect from Jan. 2, 2013. President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is expected to officially unveil the new designs next month.
Earlier this year, the Fijian government scrapped the annual public holiday celebrating the British Queen's official birthday, because it is no longer relevant.
Declared a British colony in 1874, Fiji gained independence in 1970 and became a republic in 1987.