pacific ocean

Tokelau 1

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 2

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 3

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 4

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 5

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.

Nauru 6

Nauru

Following the independence of Nauru, the flag of Nauru was raised for the first time. The flag, chosen in a local design competition, was adopted on independence day, 31 January 1968. It depicts Nauru’s geographical position, one degree south of the Equator. A gold horizontal stripe representing the Equator runs across a blue field for the Pacific Ocean. Nauru itself is symbolized by a white 12-pointed star. Each point represents one of the 12 indigenous tribes on the island.

Micronesia, Federated States of 7

Micronesia, Federated States of

The flag of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) was adopted on 30 November 1978. The light blue field represents the Pacific Ocean, while the four stars represent the states in the federation: Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap.

A similar design with six stars was in use from 1965 for the flag of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Kosrae was then part of Pohnpei so both were represented by one star. The three extra stars representing Palau, the Marshall Islands and Northern Mariana, which chose not to participate in the Federation. The flag, adopted in 1978, is in the colors of the UN flag. The light blue also represents the Pacific Ocean. In an echo of U.S. heraldic practice, the stars represent the entities that make up the state, in this case, the four federated states, arranged like the points of the compass, although the states locations are actually distributed from west to east.

Mexico 8

Mexico

Red, white, and green are the colors of the national army in Mexico. The central emblem is the Mexican coat of arms, based on the Aztec symbol for Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), the center of the Aztec empire. It recalls the legend of an eagle sitting on a cactus while devouring a serpent that signaled to the Aztecs where to found their city, Tenochtitlan. A ribbon in the national colors is at the bottom of the coat of arms. Throughout history, the flag has changed several times, as the design of the coat of arms and the length-width ratios of the flag have been modified. However, the coat of arms has had the same features throughout: an eagle, holding a serpent in its talon, is perched on top of a prickly pear cactus; the cactus is situated on a rock that rises above a lake.

Marshall Islands 9

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands were part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands administered by the United States, from which the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia split. In common with other island nations in the region, this flag features the symbolic representation of the islands’ place within the ocean. The rising diagonal band represents the equator, the star above representing this Northern Hemisphere archipelago. The white and orange portions of the band represent, respectively, the Ratak Chain (“sunrise”) and the Ralik Chain (“sunset”), as well as symbolizing peace and courage. The sun’s 24 points represent the number of electoral districts, while the four elongated points represent the principal cultural centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje and Ebeye. The flag is also the national flag with the most points on a star, at 24.

Scroll to Top