The current flag of Fiji was adopted on 10 October 1970. The state arms have been slightly modified but the flag has remained the same as during the colonial period.
The flag of Fiji is a defaced sky-blue “Blue Ensign” (the actual Blue Ensign version of the flag is the Government ensign). It has remained unchanged since Fiji was declared a republic in 1987, despite calls from some politicians (such as Opposition Senator Atu Emberson-Bain) for changes.
Its bright blue background symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, which plays an important part in the lives of the islanders, both in terms of the fishing industry, and the huge tourist trade. The Union Jack reflects the country’s links with the United Kingdom. The shield is derived from the country’s official coat of arms, which was originally granted by Royal Warrant in 1908. It is a white shield with a red cross and a red chief (upper third of a shield). The images depicted on the shield represent agricultural activities on the islands, and the historical associations with the United Kingdom. At the top of the shield, a British lion holds a cocoa pod between its paws. The upper left is sugar cane, upper right is a coconut palm, the lower left a dove of peace, and the lower right a bunch of bananas.
The current flag is very similar to the colonial ensign used prior to independence, the main differences being the latter used a darker shade of blue and displayed the entire Fijian coat of arms as opposed to just the shield. While some reformists have called for the removal of the Union Flag, seeing it a British colonial emblem, others support its retention for the sake of historical continuity. The flags of three other independent countries (Australia, New Zealand, and Tuvalu) currently retain the Union Flag in their national flags.
Some influential Fijians have called for the restoration of the full coat of arms to the flag. On 30 November 2005, Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs called for the two warrior figures, who guard the shield on the coat of arms, to be placed on the flag, along with a miniature canoe and the national motto, Rerevaka na kalou ka doka na tui (“Fear God and honour the Queen”) — symbols that were featured on the original flag of the Kingdom of Viti, the first unified Fijian state created under the leadership of Seru Epenisa Cakobau in 1871.
“The coat of arms is very significant because it has the word of God, then it has the two warriors and the Fijian canoe also. I think that the council members prefer that the full coat of arms be included in the Fiji flag,” said Asesela Sadole, General Secretary of the Great Council of Chiefs.
Prior to ceding the country to British rule in 1874, the government of Fiji adopted a national flag featuring blue and white vertical stripes, with in the centre a red shield depicting a white dove. This flag ceased to be used when the colonial era began and Fiji relinquished its independence. Fiji was a British colony from 1874 to 1970.
In his New Year’s Day address in 2013, Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama announced that the flag would soon be changed so as “to reflect a sense of national renewal, to reinforce a new Fijian identity and a new confidence in being Fijian on the global stage”. The change in the flag would accompany the adoption of a new Constitution, intended by Fiji’s military leader (who came to power in a coup in December 2006) to establish a “one person, one vote”, non-racial and secular democracy under military oversight. The country, a republic, had removed the Queen from its currency a few weeks earlier. Wikipedia
- Polyester Bunting is the traditional flag material woven from 100% polyester spun yarn which gives the effect of traditional cotton bunting.
- Ceremonial: Printed on two panels which are stiched together.