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Country: TongaTonga Tonga
Subdivision: 100 seniti
ISO 4217 code : TOP
Abbreviation: T $ (rarely PT)
Exchange rate :
(29 Mar 2020)

EUR  = 2.6951 TOP
1 TOP = 0.37104 EUR

CHF  = 2.5045 TOP
1 TOP = 0.39928 CHF

Front of a Pa'anga note
Back of a Pa'anga note

The Pa'anga (also Tonga dollar ) is the currency of Tonga . He is from the National Bank of Tonga ( National Reserve Bank of Tonga / Pangike Pule Fakafonua'o Tonga in short, NRBT) controls in the capital Nuku'alofa. The Pa'anga is not freely convertible and is linked to a basket of other currencies, consisting of the Australian , New Zealand and US dollars , as well as the Japanese yen .

One Paʻanga corresponds to 100 Seniti , the ISO code is TOP and the common abbreviation T $ (¢ or s for Seniti). In Tonga itself, the Pa'anga is usually only referred to as a dollar and the Seniti as a cent in English. For higher amounts there is also the unit Hau (1 Hau = 100 Paʻanga), but this is not used in everyday life and is only found in special coins.

Name and story

Sea beans ( Entada scandens ; a type of mimosa plant ), called Paʻanga in the Tongan language , are tendrils with a trunk four to five meters high and large, shiny dark brown to purple-red seeds. These seeds, also known as West Indian hazelnuts or St. Thomas hearts, are quite flat with a diameter of one to two centimeters and about five centimeters in diameter. Tied up, they serve as anklets, as worn in the traditional garb of the Kailao dance. They were also used as pawns in an ancient game called lafo .

When the crew of the Port-au-Prince sank their ship on December 1, 1806 after a Tongan attack so that it would not fall into the hands of the attackers, Fīnau Fangupō (Fīnau ʻUlukālala II ʻi Feletoa), chief on the island groups Haʻapai and Vavaʻu , found no valuable items in the remains and had them burned, assuming the ship belonged to a poor man. Only later did he learn from William Mariner , the only survivor, of the significance of the pieces of metal resembling the Pa'anga and regretted his act.

The following statement by Fīnau Fangupō has also come down to us from Mariner:

“If money were made of iron and could be converted into knives, axes and chisels there would be some sense in placing a value on it; but as it is, I see none. If a man has more yams than he wants, let him exchange some of them away for pork […] Certainly money is much handier and more convenient but then, as it will not spoil by being kept, people will store it up instead of sharing it out as a chief ought to do, and thus become selfish […] I understand now very well what it is that makes the papalangis so selfish - it is the money! "

German about:

“If money were made of iron and you could make knives, axes and chisels out of it, it would make sense to assign a value to it; but the way it is I can't see anyone If a man has more yams than he needs, trade them in for pork. […] Certainly money is more handy and convenient, but again, if it never goes bad, people will save it instead of spending it as they should mainly do and thus become selfish. [...] I now understand very well what makes Europeans so selfish - it's the money! "

When Tonga became a British protectorate through a friendship treaty on May 18, 1900, the British currency was soon circulating in the island nation. This was replaced in Tonga in 1933 by banknotes issued by the Tonga government with the inscription sterling, which had the unusual denomination of four shillings. In 1936 this currency was replaced by the Tongan pound (T £), with one pound sterling being exactly one and a quarter Tongan pounds. The Tongan pound was thus similar to the original Australian pound, which had already been devalued in 1936. The term sterling was first crossed out on the banknotes, later it was completely removed.

On April 3, 1967, the Pa'anga was finally introduced. The pound was exchanged at a ratio of 2: 1. When giving the name, it was decided against the term dollar , as it was too similar to the Tongan word tola (pig's snout, the soft end of the coconut, colloquially / vulgarly also mouth).

On July 1, 1989, the National Reserve Bank of Tonga was founded, which from then on was responsible for issuing notes. Even if the number of employees has increased over the years from six at the beginning to 52, it is still one of the smallest central banks in the world. Since February 11, 1991, the Pa'anga is no longer pegged to the Australian dollar, but to a weighted basket of currencies of Tonga's most important trading partners.


Reverse side of a 1 Paʻanga commemorative coin (1979)
Obverse of a 1 Paʻanga commemorative coin with Salote Tupou III (1980)
Obverse of a 2 Paʻanga special coin with humpback whale (1980)

There are banknotes for one, two, five, ten, twenty, fifty and one hundred Pa'anga. The notes are labeled on the front in Tongan and always show the late King Taufaʻahau Tupou IV. The back is in English and shows motifs and landmarks typical of the country (including the Haʻamonga-A-Maui archway, the royal palace, the development bank Tongas and the port of Vavaʻu).


Coins come in denominations of one, two, five, ten, twenty and fifty seniti. On the obverse of the three coins with the highest value, the deceased king is depicted again, the 5 ¢ coin shows a hen with chicks, the 2 ¢ coin the symbol of the United Nations for family planning with corresponding lettering in English and the 1 ¢ coin corn. The reverse side shows plants and the words Fakalahi meʻakai (Tongan: "More food"); The following are shown in descending order: tomatoes, yams , bananas, coconuts, taro and vanilla. The twelve- sided 50 ¢ coin is a specialty (all other coins are round).

In addition to the coins mentioned above, there are also older 1-T $ and 2-T $ coins in circulation, but these are considered collector's items. This also applies to the special coins issued on various occasions (mostly royal birthdays).

Web links

Commons : Tongan Banknotes and Coins  - Collection of images, videos and audio files