Last modified: 2010-11-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: proposal | kagu | bird (black) | caledonie ensemble | sailboat (blakc) | rooftop speao | flnks |
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Proposal by Calédonie ensemble - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 June 2010
The political party Calédonie ensemble was founded on 11 October 2008 in Nouméa, as a splinter of the anti-independentist, conservative party Avenir ensemble, itself founded on 28 August 2004. The leader of the party, Philippe Gomès, the President of the South Province (2004-2009), was subsequently elected President of the Government of New Caledonia (5 June 2009).
On 10 June 2010, invited in the Faut qu'on se parle (Let us talk
together) program broadcast on the TNC (Télé Nouvelle-Calédonie) TV channel, Frédéric de Greslan, a noted lawyer from Nouméa and member of Calédonie ensemble, presented the flag proposed by his party for New
The flag is vertically divided blue-red-green, with a thin white fimbriation between the stripes; in the middle, slightly overlapping the blue and green stripes, a yellow disk is charged with a sailboat and a rooftop spear, all black.
According to Greslan, blue represents the Pacific Ocean and the natural environment of New Caledonia, white represents peace, red represents the blood flowing in the veins of all Caledonians regardless of their origin, and green represents the unique biodiversity of New Caledonia. Blue, red and green are the colours of the FLNKS, whose flag includes a yellow disk charged with a black rooftop spear. Here, the yellow disk represents the sun over New Caledonia and all its communities; the rooftop spear represents the Kanak identity while the sailboat represents all the other communities that migrated to New Caledonia.
The proposal is a rebuttal to Pierre Forgier's recent suggestion (since then adopted) to
fly side-by-side the French national and the FLNKS flags.
The members of Calédonie ensemble said that the flag "shall symbolize the Kanak identity and the shared future, merging the different legitimities". It is expected to federate peoples living in New Caledonia and to play a key role in the promotion of peace.
Victor Tutugoro, spokeman of the FLNKS, found some merit to this flag, at least much more than to Frogier's suggestion.
Éric Gay, spokeman of the Rassemblement-UMP, the anti-independentist party lawful fo the French UMP, said that adding a third flag to the two flags proposed by Frogier - the French flag for the national sovereignty and the FLNKS flag for the independentists' legitimity - would only mean independence; he claims that the Calédonie ensemble's proposal has neither a historical nor a political significance.
Source: Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes, 11 June 2010
Ivan Sache, 22 June 2010
Unofficial flag of New Caledonia - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 16 October 2006
According to a local correspondent, the Caledonians use, mostly for sport events outside New Caledonia, a flag horizontally divided red-grey-red with a black kagu bird with spread wings. This flag has no official status. The colours of the flag are reversed compared with the colours of the flag used by the New Caledonian Territorial Olympic and Sport Committee.
There are 197 species of birds recorded in New Caledonia, among which
23 are endemic, that is not found anywhere else in the wild. The
International Union for Nature Conservation (UICN) has listed 17
endemic forest birds of New Caledonia on the Red List of endangered
species, which includes 1,211 bird species worldwide. The most famous
of them and the emblematic bird of New Caledonia is the kagu.
The kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) is the only member of the genus Rhynochetos, which is the only member of the family Rhynochetidae. It was trapped by the Melanesians, and later by the Europeans, for pet and plume trade. The bird retreated to the interior of the island, where its habitat was destroyed by nickel mining. The species is now threatened by feral dogs and pigs; predation by cats and rats is not documented. The kagu has full legal protection since 1977. It is believed than less than 1,000 kagus still live in New Caledonia, mostly in the South Province.
Most scientific publications on kagu were made by Dr. Gavin Hunt, now with the Department of Psychology of the University of Auckland, New Zeland and working on tool-making ability in New Caledonian crows. Dr. Hunt worked on bird conservation in New Caledonia from 1991 to 1995 and defended in 1997 in Massey University his Ph.D. Thesis entitled: Ecology and conservation of the Kagu Rhynochetos jubatus of New Caledonia.
He wrote the chapter on kagu in two references books:
Hunt, G.R. (2002). Kagu. In Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 10: Birds. Gale Publishing Group, Farmington Hills, MI.
Hunt, G.R. (1996). Rhynochetidae (Kagu). Pp. 218-225 In (Eds. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J.) Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Ivan Sache, 31 October 2006