Fiji removes Queen from bank notes

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 19:11 29/11/2012

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Fiji's Reserve Bank is dumping Queen Elizabeth II from the nation's currency.

Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Barry Whiteside said she will be replaced next month with flora and fauna designs.

It is not clear whose face might make the notes - that of military leader Voreqe Bainimarama or the military-appointed president Epeli Nailatikau.

British royals have featured on Fiji notes since 1934 and continued after independence in 1970.

After Fiji was kicked out of the Commonwealth following a military coup in 1987, then military strongman Sitiveni Rabuka declared Fiji to be a republic.

However, with hundreds of Fijians serving in the British Army still, Fiji was not willing to remove the Union Jack from its flag.
Bainimarama has several times suggested, since his 2006 coup, that he would like to return to having a British monarch as Fiji's head of state.

But with that unlikely to happen, the Reserve Bank said it was time for Fiji to move forward and promote its own "unique national treasure and the biodiversity that lies all around us."

Nailatikau will unveil the new notes and coins on December 12.

The Queen remains on New Zealand's $20 note and on coins.

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