fiji flag Image released into Public Domain at Wikimedia Commons

The Fiji Flag

The current Fiji flag has been around for over 100 years in one form or another. But the existing version wasn't adopted until 1970. I think this dates back to 1910, but haven't found any written supporting evidence for this.

A flag can say many things about a country. In this case, the blue ensign design shows that Fiji was at one time under British sovereignty. And the shield on the right, is a part of the original coat of arms, awarded to Fiji around the turn of the 19th century (1908).

Colors and symbols of the flag

The pale blue background supposedly represents the Pacific Ocean which surrounds Fiji. However, I have yet to see an ocean of this color... it is much closer to a sky blue. The flag in the image at the top of the page is about as close as I can find to the actual colors used on a flag, although the shade may vary slightly, depending on your computer.

In the shield to the right, there is a lion holding a coconut. And below this are sugar canes, coconut tree, a dove of peace, and a bunch of bananas.

There are some things I'm not entirely comfortable with in this depiction. With actual Fijian flags that I've seen, the bunch of bananas have been all yellow. I recall seeing one with just the bottom row a darker green, showing them to be unripe. And yet look closely at the image above - it shows the bottom two rows as green.

I have been talking to a local elder about this, who tell me there is a bit of a legend regarding the banana colors. Here is the story, exactly as it was told to me...

"Notice the ripe bananas on Fiji's flag? Used to be green before and legend has it that it would ripen once the stage was set for a new Fiji to emerge. One that would yield the gold, oil and other latent minerals. Legend says when Fijian leaders cared for the common folk, i.e. the weak, would be when these would come to pass."

One other difference that I notice, is that on a real flag, the tops of the sugar cane and conconut tree go right to the top of the white areas. In the image, there is a definite gap.

So I feel that these are probably errors. However, as every flag seems to be different, it's difficult to tell!

Flag To Be Changed?

There has been talk by Fiji's leader, Voreqe Bainimarama, to change the Fijian flag. This is part of the government drive to "instil more pride in the Fijian identity".

And to be fair, he does have a good point. When you look at the coat of arms, there are several things that don't quite sit right. For a start, a lion? Not a lot of those in Fiji that I'm aware of. Holding a coconut... while there may be plenty of coconut trees in Fiji, the country only exports a few tonnes of coacoa a year.

And the dove of peace is perhaps a little ironic for a country that has been under military rule for a number of years.

Note: The aspect ratio if this flag should be 2:1 - in other words it should have a length that is twice the height.

Flag Designed By Tessa Mackenizie

Sometime after this page was first published, I recieved an email from the grand daughter of Mrs Tessa Mackenzie. She wanted to point out that perhaps I would like to mention how the flag design came to be. I wasn't aware of the history behind it, but she did tell me that her grandmother won the flag design competition back in 1970... something to be proud of indeed!

There is an archived article on this at the Fiji Times, which gives the story behind the flag, well worth a read.

Fiji National Anthem

There are two versions to the Fiji National Anthem. The English and Fijian languages. But slightly unusual, is the fact that one is not a close translation of the other. I will only give the translated, rather than the original version of the Fijian language one, although this doesn't seem to be in general use.

Fijian language version translated to English

Let us show pride and honour our nation
Where righteous people reside
Where prosperity and fellowship may persevere
Abandon deeds that are immoral

Let Fiji live on
And progress onwards
May our leaders be honourable men
Let them lead our people
To great things
And bring an end to all things immoral
Let us show pride and honour our nation
Where righteous people reside
Where prosperity and fellowship may persevere
Abandon deeds that are immoral

The burden of change lie on your shoulders youth of Fiji
Be the strength to cleanse our nation
Be wary and not harbour malice
For we must abandon such sentiments forever

English language version of "God Bless Fiji"

Blessing grant oh God of nations on the isles of Fiji
As we stand united under noble banner blue
And we honour and defend the cause of freedom ever
Onward march together
God bless Fiji

For Fiji, ever Fiji, let our voices ring with pride
For Fiji, ever Fiji, her name hail far and wide,
A land of freedom, hope and glory, to endure what ever befall
May God bless Fiji
Forever more!

Blessing grant, oh God of nations, on the isles of Fiji
Shores of golden sand and sunshine, happiness and song
Stand united, we of Fiji, fame and glory ever
Onward march together
God bless Fiji.

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