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Republic of Kiribati

Last modified: 2003-02-01 by sam lockton
Keywords: kiribati | ocean | bird | frigate bird | sun |
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[ Kiribati ] 1:2
[FIS Code]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 03 December 2002

Flag adopted 12 July 1979, coat of arms adopted 1 May 1937

In this page:

See also:

Description and history of the flag

DK Pocket Book gives additional information about the adoption of the flag:

"Shortly before independence was granted in 1979, a local competition was held to choose a new national flag and a design based on the colonial coat of arms, was submitted. The College of Arms decided to modify the design. Both the golden frigate bird and the sun were enlarged to occupy more of the top of the flag and the width of the blue and white wavy bands was reduced. However, the local people insisted on the original design, in which the top and bottom halves of the flag were equal, the sun and local frigate birds small, and the various design elements oultined in black. The new flag was hoisted during the independence day celebrations in the capital, Tarawa, on 12 July 1979."

And if you check Smith, the flag represented is the rejected design, the flag represented above is also the rejected design!
Ivan Sache, 31 December 1999

The flag is the banner of the arms that was given to Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1937. The Ellice Islands became what we know as Tuvalu today, and the Gilbert Islands changed their name to Kiribati, but the shield remained the same. It is red with white-blue wavy lines in bottom representing the ocean, golden sun rising from it, and above it a bird flying. This flag came in use in 1979.

Until then Gilbert and Ellice used blue duster with the same shield, and a motto 'Fear the God, respect the king'. This was official since 1969. What is actually written there is: 'Maaka te atua, karinea te uea; mataku i te atua, fakamamalu ki te tupu'.
Zeljko Heimer 29 February 1996

"Kiribati" is pronounced Kirribarce (accent on the first syllable), and is a rendering into an Oceanic language form of the English name Gilberts (the shorthand form of the Gilbert Islands' name). So in one sense it didn't really change its name, just the spelling.
Stuart Park 29 February 1996

Coat of Arms

[ Coat of Arms ]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 02 December 2002

The Kiribatian coats of arms, was first granted to the Colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands on May 1, 1937, and slightly modified on July 12, 1979, when Kiribati achieved independence from Britain. The motto reads: "Te mauri te raoi ao te tabomoa" (Heath, Peace, Prosperity) in Kiribatian language.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 02 December 2002

According to "The Flag Bulletin" XVIII:4 (july-august 1979) page 119 - the motto means "Well Being, Peace, and Prosperity".
Christian Berghänel, 03 December 2002

Coat of Arms 1937-1979

[ Coat of Arms 1937-1979 ]
by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 02 December 2002

The motto reads: 'Maaka te atua, karinea te uea; mataku i te atua, fakamamalu ki te tupu' (Fear God and Honour the King) in both Gilbertan (Kiribatian) and Tuvaluan languages.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 02 December 2002