The paʻanga is the official currency of Tonga. The official currency symbol: T$. The currency’s name is derived from the native name given to the box bean or St Thomas’ bean. In 1806, the Tongans attacked a ship passing through Port-au-Prince in an attempt to seize it. They were unsuccessful as the crew sank the ship. Fnau Uluklala, the head of Haapai, devised a new strategy: looting everything was valuable. He discovered the ship’s cash on his inspection visit. He mistook coins for paʻanga because he had no idea what money was. Finally, after finding nothing of value, he ordered the wreck to burn. William Mariner, the only survivor of the attack, told him years later that these pieces of metal were much more valuable than simple stones to play with.
The paʻanga was established in 1967 to replace the pound. The government introduced the first banknotes in denominations of ½, 1, 2, 5 and 10 paʻanga, followed by the 20 paʻanga in 1985 and the 50 paʻanga in 1988. In 1992, the National Reserve Bank of Tonga took over the production of paper money and introduced a new series of banknotes with the addition of the 100 pa’anga banknote in 2008. In 2015, the National Reserve Bank of Tonga introduced a new and currently use series of paʻanga banknotes in six denominations, ranging from 2 to 100 paʻanga.
The 5 Tongan paʻanga note front design features the portrait of ʻAhoʻeitu Tupou VI, who the King of Tonga, on a background with traditional ornamental motifs of the Tongan culture, followed by the National Coat of Arms.
The reverse of the note illustrates the Otu Langi, ancient royal burial tombs, which are artificial hills built from huge slabs of coral rock, followed by the National Reserve Bank of Tonga logo. The lettering of the note is presented in the Tongan and English language. This note is part of the 2015 series, and its color is purple.
Text: KINGDOM OF TONGA PA’ANGA ‘E NIMA PANGIKE PULE FAKAFONUA O TONGA, NATIONAL RESERVE BANK OF TONGA.