The French Polynesian flag is made up of two horizontal bands of red separated by a larger white band set in the middle. In the flag’s center, against the white background, is a circle featuring wavy blue lines at the bottom and yellow and white sunlight rays at the top. In the center is a red out rigger canoe with five stars over it. The flag, which makes use of Polynesian’s traditional red and white colors, was officially adopted on December 4, 1984.
The stars depicted on French Polynesia’s flag are representative of the five island groups which make up French Polynesia, or the so called the Society Islands archipelago. These include the Windward, Leeward, Gambier, Marquesas, and Austral Islands along with the Tuamotu Archipelago. The out rigger canoe, which is featured on the flag design, is a traditional mode of transportation, which has played a major role in terms of French Polynesia’s unique history and culture. These particular canoes are also popular in New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, and Hawaii. The canoe is depicted on the flag sailing on water (wavy blue lines) in the sunshine (white and yellow sunrays).
The design for the official flag symbolizing the overseas collective of French Polynesia came about as a result of a government resolution project. The design which was approved represents various characteristics of importance to the native people of French Polynesia such as traditional values, dignity, freedom, and responsibility. The design of the present day flag was also inspired by an older version of the Tahitian flag of the Pomare family.
Former flags of French Polynesia include the Kingdom of Tahiti’s 1822 to 1842 version which initially featured a solid red background sporting a white star in its hoist side corner. This was then replaced by a design featuring a horizontal band of white set between two bands of red. These flags were used during the reigns of King of Tahiti Pomare III and then Queen Pomare IV. The flag of the Leeward Islands, specifically Bora Bora, features five horizontal bands of red and white.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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