Pacific Ocean Islands

Solomon Islands 1

Solomon Islands

he flag of the Solomon Islands consists of a thin yellow diagonal stripe divided diagonally from the lower hoist-side corner, with a blue upper triangle and green lower triangle, and the canton charged with five white stars. Adopted in 1977 to replace the British Blue Ensign defaced with the arms of the protectorate, it has been the flag of the Solomon Islands since 18 November of that year, eight months before the country gained independence. Although the number of provinces has since increased, the number of stars on the flag that originally represented them remained unchanged.

Philippines 3

Philippines

The Philippine national flag has a rectangular design that consists of a white equilateral triangle, symbolizing liberty, equality and fraternity; a horizontal blue stripe for peace, truth, and justice; and a horizontal red stripe for patriotism and valor. In the center of the white triangle is an eight-rayed golden sun symbolizing unity, freedom, people’s democracy, and sovereignty. Each ray represents a province with significant involvement in the 1896 Philippine Revolution against Spain; these provinces are Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Morong (modern-day province of Rizal), Laguna, Batangas, and Nueva Ecija.

Papua New Guinea 4

Papua New Guinea

The flag of Papua New Guinea was adopted on 1 July 1971. In the hoist, it depicts the Southern Cross; in the fly, a raggiana bird-of-paradise is silhouetted. The design was chosen through a nationwide design competition in early 1971. The winning designer was Susan Karike Huhume, who was 15 at the time.

Red and black have long been traditional colours of many Papua New Guinean tribes. Black-white-red was the colour of the German Empire flag, which had colonised New Guinea prior to 1918. The bird-of-paradise is also found on the national coat-of-arms.

Prior to independence, the Australian administration proposed a vertical tricolour flag with blue, yellow and green bands, along with the bird of paradise and southern cross, designed by Hal Holman. It had a mainly negative reception, due to its appearance as that of a “mechanically contrived outcome”, thus the alternative proposal attributed to Susan Karike was chosen instead. The blue was said to represent the sea and islands of New Guinea, the Southern Cross was a guide for the travelling peoples, the gold represented the coastlines, mineral wealth, and unity, and the green represented the forested highlands and mainland, with the Bird of Paradise representing the unification under one nation.

The Southern Cross shows that it is a country in the Southern Hemisphere and can be seen in Papua New Guinea.

Palau 5

Palau

The explanation for the choice of colors is rooted in the history and customs of the Palauan people. The light blue of the field symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, and also represents the transition from foreign domination to self-government. The golden disk, which sits slightly off-center toward the hoist, represents the full moon. The Palauans consider the full moon to be the optimum time for human activity. At this time of the month, celebrations, fishing, sowing, harvesting, tree-felling, and the carving of traditional canoes are carried out. The moon is a symbol of peace, love, and tranquility.

Tokelau 6

Tokelau

In June 2007 the regional parliament (General Fono) decided over the future flag, anthem and national symbol of Tokelau. The proposed flag depicted a stylized Polynesian canoe and four stars. The stars represent the three main islands and also Swains Island, administered by the United States (American Samoa) but claimed by Tokelau. As the required supermajority was not reached in the 2007 self-determination referendum, the flag was not officially adopted.

Niue 7

Niue

The symbolism represented by the flag is described in the Act. The Union Jack symbolises the protection granted by the United Kingdom in 1900 after petitioning by the Kings and Chiefs of Niue. The yellow field symbolizes “the bright sunshine of Niue and the warm feelings of the Niuean people towards New Zealand and her people.” The association with New Zealand, which took over responsibility and administration of Niue in 1901, is also represented by the four small stars that depict the Southern Cross. Finally, the blue disc containing a larger star represents the deep blue sea surrounding the self-governing island of Niue.

Cook Islands 8

Cook Islands

The flag of the Cook Islands, officially known as the Cook Islands Ensign, is based on the traditional design for former British colonies in the Pacific region. It is a blue ensign containing the Union Flag in the upper left, and on the right, fifteen stars in a ring. The Union Flag is symbolic of the nation’s historic ties to the United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth of Nations. The stars stand for the fifteen islands that make up the Cook Islands (Tongareva, Rakahanga, Manihiki, Pukapuka, Nassau, Suwarrow, Palmerston, Aitutaki, Manuae, Takutea, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke, Rarotonga and Mangaia). The blue represents the ocean and the peaceful nature of the inhabitants.

Chatham Islands 9

Chatham Islands

The unofficial flag of the Chatham Islands is a blue field with a map of the island in the centre, the Te Whanga Lagoon depicted in white. Behind this device map is a depiction of the rising sun, an allusion to its local name Rekohu, meaning ‘rising sun’.

The flag was designed by Logan Alderson, a former New Zealand police officer.

At the 2005 opening of a new marae on the islands (which included a rare visit by the Prime Minister), the Chathams flag was clearly seen flying from a flagpole over the marae.

New Zealand 10

New Zealand

New Zealand’s first flag, the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, was adopted in 1834, six years before New Zealand’s separation from New South Wales and creation as a separate colony following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Chosen by an assembly of Māori chiefs at Waitangi in 1834, the flag was of a St George’s Cross with another cross in the canton containing four stars on a blue field. After the formation of the colony in 1840, British ensigns began to be used. The current flag was designed and adopted for use on the colony’s ships in 1869, was quickly adopted as New Zealand’s national flag, and given statutory recognition in 1902.

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