Flag of Fiji
|Design||A Light Blue Ensign with the Fijian shield-of-arms taken from the National Coat of Arms centered on the outer half of the flag. |
The flag is very similar to the colonial ensign used prior to independence, the main differences being the latter used a darker shade of blue and displayed the entire Fijian coat of arms as opposed to just the shield. While some reformists have called for the removal of the Union Flag, seeing it a British colonial emblem, others support its retention for the sake of historical continuity. The flags of five other independent countries (see Flags of Australia, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Niue, and Tuvalu articles) retain the Union Flag in their national flags.
In 2013, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced plans of replacing the flag with a new design that would not include the Union Jack. Following a three-month-long public vote, the new flag is expected to be announced on 1 July 2016. 
The flag's bright blue background symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, which plays an important part in the lives of the islanders, both in terms of the fishing industry, and the huge tourist trade. The Union Jack reflects the country's links with the United Kingdom. The shield is derived from the country's coat of arms, which was granted by Royal Warrant in 1908. It is a white shield with a red cross and a red chief (upper third of a shield). The images depicted on the shield represent agricultural activities on the islands, and the historical associations with the United Kingdom. At the top of the shield, a British lion holds a cocoa pod between its paws. The upper left is sugar cane, upper right is a coconut palm, the lower left a dove of peace, and the lower right a bunch of bananas.