The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Mr. Ariff Ali;
Organizers of the Marist 7s;
Participating Teams & Officials;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.
I know you are all excited to see the Marist 7 Final, but I am going to ask you to put up with me for a few minutes because I have a very important announcement to make.
First, please allow me to take us back in time eight months, to July of last year. Fiji was in the midst of the second wave of COVID-19. Infection rates were running at over 1,000 per day, and the daily COVID-related deaths were in double digits. It was a terrible time. The borders were closed, containment zones were in place and thousands of Fijians had lost their jobs.
And then something truly wonderful happened.
Our Fiji 7s Men and Ladies Teams, who had sacrificed and prepared diligently for months, lifted our hearts and our spirits by winning the Rugby 7s gold and bronze medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
It was wonderful. It was exhilarating. It was joyous. But it really wasn’t surprising.
Our Fijian teams went to Tokyo to win—to show the world that this is OUR sport. Our Fijiana Drua are showing that right now in Super W, and our men’s Drua are showing that Fijians play Super Rugby as well as we play Sevens—and even better when we can play on a Fijian team.
But who will ever forget how our Fijian teams played? With passion, determination, courage and unity. They knew they were carrying the hopes and aspirations of an entire nation on their backs. That is a lot of pressure, especially after the gold medal we won in Rio, but they stayed focused on their game. That is the sign of a true champion.
I think you all know that my Government has given cash rewards to the member of both teams and their coaches and other officials. But today we are doing more. Today I am extremely proud to show our Olympic heroes just how much pride their grateful nation takes in their win. They will be immortalized on our national currency.
Today we are unveiling a new, 7-dollar banknote to commemorate our win in Sevens. It pictures the men’s team on one side and the women’s team on the other. The men’s side is a gold colour, and the women’s side is a bronze colour. This is our second seven-dollar note. You may recall that we printed one after our win in Rio, and I sincerely hope that we will print a new seven-dollar note every four years.
Ladies and gentlemen, this commemorative Banknote will be legal tender and will be issued into circulation this coming Monday, 28 March.
The Reserve Bank of Fiji has produced enough of the banknotes to ensure that every Fijian will be able to get them, but the production is limited. That is because this note is intended to be commemorative, which gives it some extra value as a collector’s item both here and abroad. There are a lot of people around the world who collect Fijian currency, so I expect that we’ll be seeing some serious international demand. And special collector sets will also be available through the Reserve Bank beginning next week.
I want to thank the Reserve Bank of Fiji and the people who print our currency, Oberthur Fiduciaire—and of course, the Fiji Rugby Union for collaborating on this production. I also want to thank the organisers of the Marist 7s for allowing us to introduce our new banknote here today.
It is now my pleasure—and my distinct honour—to officially unveil the latest addition to Fiji’s beautiful currency: our seven-dollar banknote honouring our wins at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games: the Ladies’ bronze medal win and our men’s second consecutive Olympic gold medal win.
Thank you and Vinaka vakalevu.