The Vanuaaku Party led the republic to independence from Britain and France on July 30, 1980. The colors of the party had been black and red, so they were incorporated into the county’s flag in order to honor them. Adopted on February 18, 1980, the Vanuatu flag was chosen by a parliamentary committee. The committee chose from submissions of local artists.
The Vanuatu flag consists of four colors red, green, yellow, and black. The red fills in the top portion of the flag, while the green fills in the bottom. The yellow forms a “Y” laying on its side toward the left side of the flag. The black forms a border between the red and yellow and green and yellow. It also fills in the triangle of the “Y.” In the center of the triangle also in yellow is a swirling tusk and two fern leaves crossed in the center of the tusk.
While the red and black had been the colors of the Vanuaaku Party, they also represent different things as well. The red is representative of the blood that unites the people of the country together in solidarity. The black is for the majority of the population, who are from Melanesia. The land and agriculture of the country are represented by the color green on the flag. Christianity and sunshine are represented by the yellow and it was requested by the Prime Minister, Father Walter Lini. He also requested that the yellow be put against the black so that it would stand out better.
The symbols in the middle of the Y-shape’s black triangle, the tusk and the fern leaves are symbolic as well. The tusk is a boar’s tusk, which symbolizes the prosperity and is a traditional Vanuatu symbol that is often worn around the necks of the citizens of the country. The fern leaves are symbolic of peace. There are also thirty-nine leaflets, just as there are thirty-nine members of the Parliament. The Y-shape is also symbolic of the shape that the chain of eighty islands that make-up Vanuatu form in the South Pacific. The Y-shape is in yellow to symbolize the light of Christianity shining down on the island chain.