On 6 December 1999 during its conference in Papeete, French Polynesia, the Pacific Community, formerly the South Pacific Commission (SPC), adopted a new flag (sometimes described as the flag of the Pacific Community, at other times described as the flag of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community). The flag is dark blue with a centred emblem in white and light blue (also
described a turquoise).
The emblem resembles in part that found in the flag of the SPC. In both flags we find a circle of
26 stars, the number corresponding to the membership in the organisation, completed by an arch. The stars, now five-pointed and in white, represents the membership states and territories, while the arch represents the secretariat (located in Nouméa, New Caledonia) which ties the countries
together. At the same time the shape of the arch suggests a satellite dish, a reminder of how important communications technology is for bringing isolated islands together into a community.
Inside the circle we find a new emblem consisting of sail, ocean and a coconut palm. Together, the sail and ocean symbolise "linkage and interchange," while the sail itself represents a canoe and symbolises movement and change. The coconut palm symbolises wealth.
As for the colours, the idea is that the dark blue field and the white stars represent the clear night skies of the Pacific. Light blue (turquoise), used in the sail arch and the lower wave, symbolises youth and the island chains found in the region. The colours are specified in the Pantone Matching System, the reference for dark blue being PMS 293 and for light blue PMS 3125.
The above is based on information supplied by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, supplemented by news reports.
Jan Oskar Engene, 22 February 2000
The South Pacific Commission is now known as the Pacific Community. The decision to change the name came at the organization's annual meeting in Canberra, Australia, in October 1999. The major reason for the change is that a number of members are now in the North Pacific, making the use of "South" Pacific misleading. There also were critics who thought the word "commission" had too much of a colonial ring to it. The PC, which was created in 1947, has 26 member countries and territories.
Thanh-Tâm Lę, 30 January 1999; source: http://www.pacificmagazine.com/gov1.htm.
Politikens Flagbog (ed. 2000) mentions the "South Pacific Community": "The blue colour represents the ocean, the palm the natural resources. The 27 stars symbolize the member states. At the start there were only eight
stars, the number has risen steadily, though mostly since 1983." (Translated.)
The flag is 30:50 (3:5) dark blue (really close to the colour the book uses for
Nevada) with centered on it a ring with an outer radius of 11 units. The hoist-ward half of the ring is solid white (half) ring, 2 unit wide, the fly-ward
half consists of an arc of 16 yellow stars. In the lower fly quadrant of the circle a white palm-tree leaning fly-ward. The stars are six-pointed (but too small to make out their exact shape from the book) with two of their points on (or close to) a centered circle with a 10 unit radius. They don't quite touch and are somewhat less wide than the half ring; calculating the space
taken by 16 such stars on a semicircle will give an upper limit.
I expect Ivan's Pacman-like emblem matches the circle in the other flags, as it would be with only a few stars present, e.g., the blue outside the circle is changed to white, the blue inside the circle is retained except that a segment is missing where the first 8 stars would have been. The upper hoist quarter would then have Crux Australis, but I'm not exactly sure where in the base the two wavy lines would be. The missing segment would leave the palm out of the "disk". The palm appears to lean hoist-ward in every source but Politikens Flagbog.
Could it be that the original non-committal Forum of 6 developed into a more dedicated Committee of 8+, which has now become an even closer tied Community of 27?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 21 January 2001
The first flag of the South Pacific Commission was blue with a white ring, the lower right part of which is replaced by a chain of small gold stars. Above the stars is a small white palm tree. James Dignan, 16 October 1995
The first flag of the South Pacific Commission had 6 stars, one for each member nation. The current number is 27. Jaume Ollé, 14 July 1997
The Flags of Paradise chart shows this flag with eleven stars covering about 110 degrees of the circle in 1978, thirteen stars covering about 120 degrees in 1980, and twenty-seven stars covering about 250 degrees from 1980 until now.
John Ayer, 30 January 1999