On February 3rd Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama declared that Fiji would be changing its flag. Today, he announced the 13 members of a National Flag Committee tasked with recommending a shortlist of new flags for the South Pacific nation. Committee members include a variety of prominent Fijians:
- Shaenaz Voss: senior manager Fiji Airways, former executive officer of Air Fiji, board member of Unit Trust of Fiji and Film Fiji;
- Ilaitia Jikoiono: artist and designer and creative director of Style Magazine;
- Shammi Lochan: radio personality and currently radio program director Fiji Broadcasting Corporation;
- Lenora Qereqeretabua: national public relations consultant and former Miss Hibiscus;
- Manpreet Kaur: academic specialising in linguistics and diasporic studies at the University of Fiji;
- Niqa Tuvuki: culture and heritage specialist at the Fiji Arts Council;
- The Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea;
- Agni Deo Singh: trade unionist and general secretary of the Fiji Teachers Union;
- Craig Marlow: community artist;
- Tiko Matawalu: sporting personality, rugby player and coach;
- Dinesh Patel: businessman and member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The committee will be chaired by Iliesa Delana, Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports and Para-Olympic Gold Medalist.
At last week’s meeting of the Portland Flag Association, Ted Kaye shared with us the exciting news that he will be joining the committee as its 13th member and only vexillologist. Apparently an interview that he did with the online magazine Vice and reprinted by the Fiji Sun caught the eye of the Fijian government, and convinced them of the need for a “flag expert and vexillologist”. Ted said he was very honored that they reached out to him to serve in that role, and would soon be on a plane to Suva.
The Committee has a great deal of work to do in short order: to sift through 1,400 flag designs that have been submitted for consideration and to make its recommendations in time to meet the looming deadline of October 10th, the 45th anniversary of Fijian independence. The Prime Minister has ordered that a new flag be in place in time for the celebrations.