Ben Ryan, the coach who led the Fijian sevens team to Olympic victory, Bruce Southwick, and captain Osea Kolinisau at the launch of a $7 note featuring Mr Southwick's photos. PHOTO/SUPPLIED.
One side of the $7 Fijian note featuring Bruce Southwick's photo of Fijian sevens captain Osea Kolinisau and Rio-winning coach Ben Ryan. Photo/Facebook
Photographer Bruce Southwick is used to seeing his photos in magazines, brochures and online.
But seeing them printed on a $7 note is a first.
Mr Southwick, who is from Whangarei but has lived and captured rugby in Fiji since 2004, has photographed the Fijian sevens team since Ben Ryan took over as coach in 2013 and followed the team to the Rio Olympics where they won gold.
So when the Reserve Bank of Fiji called Mr Southwick wanting to have a chat about using his images on currency after the team's Olympic success he said he would be "honoured".
"I said 'while you're at it why don't you make a note that's unique to us and make a $7 note' and they said that was a bit out there and I said 'not really, because when I go get coffee and it's $6.50 and I give a $5 and a $2 I get 50 cents change so a $7 note's the same.'"
Mr Southwick donated the images but was unsure if his suggestion would be turned into reality until the new note and 50c coin was launched on Thursday night.
"I was just grinning man. They surprised me, and I was really happy. We play so differently so it's fitting to have our own note that is unique."
The $7 note features an image of captain Osea Kolinisau running at the Olympics and in the corner a photo of Rio-winning coach Ben Ryan sitting on the sand dunes the day before he announced the team - this image is also on the 50c coin.
On the other side is a photo of the team after getting their medals.
Mr Southwick it was a fitting tribute for the rugby-mad nation after the Rio gold.
"It was just amazing coming home after Rio.
"People swarmed the buses driving out and our national stadiums were just cram-packed and celebrating the team and there were flags flying everywhere. That was the first time I could see the boys were emotional and realise they had done it."
Mr Southwick's family has been in Fiji since the 1860s so every Christmas holidays he visited the Pacific Island nation.
He said it was pretty special watching the team win Olympic gold after having watched Fiji win Hong Kong Sevens with his grandfather when he was a "little fella".
"It's just a different feeling. I've followed them in the world series and in Hong Kong and my heart gets so nervous, it's so exciting. But in Rio it was so calm, they were relaxed and enjoying it."
Mr Southwick said he also made a documentary called Sevens from Heaven about the Fiji team.
He said two million copies of the $7 note and one million copies of the coin would be put into circulation.