Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga is scattered in the southern Pacific Ocean along with Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Samoa, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji, Kermadec, and Niue. This Polynesian island nation was a British territory from 1900 until 1970 but later on became a constitutional monarchy.

Tonga has a small open economy that relies on agricultural goods such as vanilla beans,  yams, and squash. Exports of fish make up about 67% of total overseas trading. The nation depends on international assistance and remittances to pay off its trade deficit. Next to remittances, the tourism sector is a major source of hard currency earnings.

The Tongan government focuses on the development of the private sector which includes attracting investment. It is also geared toward improving its funds for health and education.

The country is using the Tongan pa’anga as its national currency. Introduced in 1967, the monetary unit replaced the pound. Tongan banknotes depicted Salote Mafile’o Tofou III who served as queen. On the banknotes released between 1973 and 1989, her portrait was replaced with a portrait of her son Taufa’ahau Tupou IV who served as king from December 16, 1965 to September 10, 2006.

To address the requirement for higher denominations, another family of notes was introduced in 1985 with circular watermark areas and the country’s crest as an overprint. Following the establishment of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, a new set of paper bills was introduced bearing a portrait of the new king, George Tupou V. Smaller denominations of this set have a 1.4-mm wide windowed security thread with demetalized NRBT. Larger denominations have a 2.0-mm wide red-to-green color shifting thread with a demetalized NBRT while the largest denomination carries an Optiks thread. Recent Tongan pa’anga banknotes reflect a portrait of King Tupou VI as well as national landmarks and motifs.

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