The national flag of Fiji consists of a sky blue coloured field defaced with a Union Jack in the canton and a shield bearing the national coat of arms in the centre of the fly side of the flag. The ratio of the Fijian flag is 1:2. The present day flag of Fiji was officially adopted on 10 October 1970 following Fiji gaining its independence from the United Kingdom; however, it is almost identical to the flag used during Fiji's time under colonial rule of the British Empire from 1874.
The Fijian flag's predominantly blue colour scheme is said to represent the Pacific Ocean surrounding the island nation. The Union Jack represents Fiji's historical ties to the United Kingdom. Interestingly, Fiji is the only republic to retain the Union Jack on its flag (Australia, New Zealand, Niue, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands all retain the Union Jack on their respective flags; however, none of these countries are republics). The flag's shield is derived from the Fijian coat of arms and comprises a white shield with a red cross and a red chief (upper third of the shield) with various images of significance including a British Lion holding a cocoa pod, a sugar cane, a coconut palm, a dove of peace, and a bunch of bananas filling the various points of the shield.
In 2013, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama accounced that the country's flag was to be changed "to reflect a sense of national renewal, to reinforce a new Fijian identity and a new confidence in being Fijian on the global stage". Much of the angst surrounding Fiji's national flag centres around its use of the Union Jack, seen by some as a historical representation no longer appropriate to the modern Fijian republic. Following a lengthy process of public submissions and much controversy, Bainimarama announced on 17 August 2016 that Fiji was in fact abandoning its plan to establish a new national flag.
A flag bearer holds the Fijian flag at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup in Australia