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East New Britain Province (Papua New Guinea)

Former Neupommern Island

Last modified: 2001-09-08 by santiago dotor
Keywords: east new britain | papua new guinea | neupommern | stars: 4 | shell | mask |
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[East New Britain Province (Papua New Guinea)]
by Mark Sensen

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The sources available to me do not agree on the colours of the flag of East New Britain in Papua New Guinea, though they are in agreement on the design. An image of the flag is shown at Mark Sensen's site. In that image the field of the flag has a white diagonal stripe with a red lower field and black upper field. Both Flagmaster [1] and the Flag Bulletin [2] reported a green diagonal stripe. The poster Flags of Paradise [3] also has a green diagonal stripe but shows the upper field as blue. The upper field is black according to both Flagmaster and the Flag Bulletin. All my sources agree that the stars in the upper field are white. Can anyone help me out with the correct colours of the diagonal stripe and the upper fly triangular field?

Sources: [1] Provincial Flags of Papua New Guinea, Flagmaster, No. 40, 1983; [2] Wolfgang G. Jilek, Symbols in New Guinea - Tribal, Colonial, National, and Provincial, The Flag Bulletin, No. 130, 1989, pp. 190-223; [3] Flags of Paradise (poster), Vexventures, 1996.

Jan Oskar Engene, 12 October 1998

My source was Flaggenmitteilungen no. 96, March 1984. I checked it and saw I made an error. Indeed the diagonal stripe should be green. The upper field is indicated "N" (noir), so it is black. The [emblem] description says:

Embleme central á fond blanc, Cercle rouge bordé d'accolades alternées noires et blue clair. Quatre motifs noirs, blue clair et blans et rectangle rouge au centre. Au milieu á gauche masque noir, reflets gris-bleu. Yeux blanc á ovals blue ciel. A droite masque dessine en blue clair, yeux entourn es d'ovals blue clair et rouges. Décors á la base en forme de plumes noires. Le tout entourné d'accolades rouges et noires.
The images (with some enlarged details) are made by Lucien Philippe. His source was the magazine New nation, September 1982.

Mark Sensen, 12 October 1998

I have a copy of handwritten notes sent by Lucien Philippe to a German-speaking magazine, probably Flaggenmitteilungen. The colours indicated in his East New Britain drawing are: black upper field and green diagonal stripe. The mask in the central design is black with "blue-grey shades".

Thanh-Tâm Lê, 12 October 1998

So its seems clear that the colour of the vertical stripe is green. As for the colour of the upper fly field, I am still in doubt. The most recent source, the Flags of Paradise poster, has the upper field as blue, whereas all the other, older, sources agree that it is black. Is there a chance that the flag may have been changed at some point, and that the flag with the blue upper fly field is the new/current version?

Jan Oskar Engene, 13 October 1998

I have two sources which are contradictory of each other. A book entitled PNG: A fact book on modern Papua New Guinea by Jackson Rannells, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1990 has as its cover design the provincial flags of PNG. For East New Britain it shows a flag divided diagonally Blue over Red with a Green stripe and the arms outlined in red with a blue triangular figure and a black/white mask figure.

Wolfgang Jilek presented a paper at the 12th International Congress of Vexillology entitled Symbols in New Guinea - Tribal, Colonial, National and Provincial. Herr Jilek, if I recall correctly, had an extended stay in PNG working on an aid project. The Congress Papers (published as Flag Bulletin XXVIII:1-4/130) show at page 206 a description of "divided per bend with a green stripe between a black field with four Southern Cross stars and a red field. A central red ornamented white disk bears the mask of the Duk-duk secret society of the Tolai and the ningum fire dance mask of the Baining."

I believe that Wolfgang Jilek's paper is the most likely to be correct.

Ralph Kelly, 13 October 1998

I have noted green stripe and black field (according Lucien Philippe, Flagmaster, Vexillinfo and Vexilologie) but I believe that Mark Sensen's image is wrong [too] because the white diagonal stripe touches the white emblem. The blue or black can be an error between dark blue and black (note that in Australia the stars are on royal blue field, and in PNG on black field; the poster author is Australian...).

Jaume Ollé, 16 October 1998

A green stripe separates red and blue triangles. Four white stars over the blue represent the national flag. Traditional shell money surrounds a circle. Masks of Tolai (dukduk) and Baining dancers are in the centre. Source: PNG: A fact book on modern Papua New Guinea, Jackson Rannells, Oxford University Press (Melbourne), 1990.

David Cohen, 31 July 1999

A very minor point according to the cover of Rannells' book. The four white stars are on blue. The right mask is white, the left blue. In the four devices at N, S, E and W the black areas are shown as blue.

David Cohen, 1 August 1999

My source gives the stars "W/N", so white on black. The text for the details:

Embleme central á fond blac. Cercle rouge bordé d'accolades alternées noires et blue clair, quatre motifs noirs, blue clair et blancs et rectangle rouge au centre. Au milieu á gauche masque noir, refelts gris-blue. Yeux blancs á ovals blue ciel. A droite masque dessine en blue clair, yeux entourés d'ovlas blue clair et rouges. Décors á la base en formé de plumes noires le tout entouré d'accolades rouges et noires.
So indeed I missed some blue in the four devices, but which one exactly?

Mark Sensen, 31 July 1999

Mark Sensen wrote, "So indeed I missed some blue in the four devices, but which one exactely?" Hmmm... some of the detail is very elaborate (especially on the 2 crocodiles on the Gulf flag, in batch 2). I'll post him a colour copy of the book's cover as well as enlarged b&w copies of each flag. There are 19 PNG provinces, and also the National Capital District. I guess the national flag is for the NCD, as no flag is mentioned.

David Cohen, 1 August 1999

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