4 March 2015

Australia mints world history with new circulating coin for Cook Islands, Tonga & Vanuatu

History was made today with three Pacific Island nations marking the introduction of their own brand new circulating coins at the official coin striking ceremony at the Royal Australian Mint (the Mint).

With the Mint's assistance and expertise, Cook Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu have embarked on the important journey of coin reform, bringing each country's coinage system in line with world best practice.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, said this was a significant time for the Royal Australian Mint and the three nations.

"These partnerships are an example of how the Australian Government is committed to further strengthening relationships with our Pacific neighbours," Ms O’Dwyer said.

"The Royal Australian Mint has demonstrated how valuable knowledge, technology and production facilities may be shared across borders and they are to be commended for that."

International dignitaries and diplomatic representatives from Cook Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu gathered for the exclusive ceremonial coin striking which saw all 16 coins being struck during the proceedings.

Mint CEO Mr Ross MacDiarmid said with today's coining ceremony, the Mint has a proud record of assisting five countries with coinage reforms in just over three years.

"We have been able to assist our neighbours in producing smaller, lighter coins with designs of cultural significance to the people," said Mr MacDiarmid.

"Their new coins are now in line with international trends resulting in lower production costs which translate into savings for the countries."

The High Commissioner of Tonga, HRH Princess Angelika Tuku'aho, the Cook Islands Minister for Finance Mr Mark Brown and the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu Mr Peter Tari will strike their own country's new coins.

The new coins will be launched in each country over the coming months. The three coinage reforms are timed to recognise significant national milestones, namely 50 years of self-government for the Cook Islands, the Coronation of King Tupou VI of the Kingdom of Tonga and the 35th Anniversary of Independence for the Republic of Vanuatu.

HRH Princess Angelika Tuku'aho, had the extremely rare honour of being able to strike a coin which features an effigy of her father, King Tupou VI.