THE VALUE of a crisp banknote is easy to understand. But the value of a country’s natural landscape, facing threats including climate change, natural disasters, and overzealous developers, is sometimes harder to see—until it’s possibly too late.
In Samoa, population just under 200,000, there is a history of celebrating the fragile natural beauty of its surroundings on the country’s currency, the Samoan Tala.
Samoan banknotes—in every shade of the rainbow—depict infuential people and institutions, but also the South Pacific country’s unique and irreplaceable natural environment: a cascading waterfall (Sopoaga Falls); Samoa’s national flower, the teuila, also known as red ginger flower; the national bird (the manumea, an endangered species found only in Samoa); and a pristine white sandy beach.
Samoan currency, last issued in 2008, has in turn received awards for its design aesthetic; the vibrant yellow $20 tala bill, featuring Sopoaga Falls and a manumea, was singled out as one of the world’s “most beautiful” banknotes by Banknote World.
PHOTOS: CENTRAL BANK OF SAMOA
Samoa’s $20 tala bill has been honored for its design. It features the national bird (the manumea), national flower (the teuila), and Sopoaga Falls.