Big Story | FIJI NEWS | NEWS

Queen, A Key Role In Fiji’s History

Tessa Mackenzie is a woman known to many as the designer of the Fijian national flag. She said the flag now stands as a symbolic treasure of the country’s at­tainment of independence since 1970.
17 Sep 2022 17:00
Queen, A Key Role In Fiji’s History
Fiji’s flag designer Tessa Mackenzie during the memorial service of the late Queen Elizabeth II at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Suva. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka

Tessa Mackenzie is a woman known to many as the designer of the Fijian national flag.

Ms Mackenzie was among the many people present at the memorial ser­vice for the late Queen Elizabeth II which took place at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Suva on Friday.

The 87-year-old said she kept the Un­ion Jack on Fiji’s flag as the United Kingdom and the late Queen Eliza­beth II played an influential role in the country’s history and develop­ment.

She said the flag now stands as a symbolic treasure of the country’s at­tainment of independence since 1970.

“History is part of your make up and you can’t change it. With all history, there are some good and some bad and you learn from the history,” she said.

“If and when there are mistakes, then you learn from those mistakes and if there were things that went well, then you build on that.

“Coat of arms used in Fiji’s flag has a sugar cane, coconut, bananas, and the Cakobau’s flag. It was important to put his flag because it does ac­knowledge the iTaukei side.

“Lion on the flag is not a British lion, it’s a symbol of power. The lion is holding a cocoa pod which some may assume it’s a rugby ball.

“Cocoa pod designed on the shield wasn’t me, I think it was designed in the 1900s, over 100 years ago and I think it was designed by the lady who was then the wife of the governor then.

“I think it was Lady Thurn. The de­sign for the national flag was selected as a result of a competition won joint­ly with Robi Wilcock,” she said.

Ms Mackenzie said during her time in Fiji, she hadn’t managed to meet the Queen, but she was amongst the crowds during Her Majesty’s visit in the 1970s.

“She was a wonderful person and she lived a unique life. She was unique, it would be a big shoe for King Charles III to fill, but I wish him well,” she said.

“It was an exceptionally great idea for the British High Com­mission to organise a memo­rial service for the late Queen Elizabeth II.

“She plays a critical role in Fiji’s history and was the coun­try’s head of state at once. I am quite astounded with the amount of people that attended the memorial service.”

Feedback: nacanieli@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Subscribe-to-Newspaper