Susan Karike – The girl who designed the PNG flag
Susan Karike became a household name when at the age of 15 and a student attending Sacred Heart Mission School on Yule Island, her simple design for the PNG flag stole the approval of many Papua New Guineans including the members of the then House of Assembly who voted in favor of it.
Susan Hareho Karike (Now Mrs Huhume), from Meii village in the Gulf province, designed the flag in 1971 after she was approached by Sister Joseph Mary, her art teacher that time.
During that year the country was preparing for the Independence, so the government needed one outstanding design for a flag which would symbolize their independence and the birth of a new nation.
Hence, they went ahead and invited all Papua New Guineans to enter through a competition designs which would help find a PNG flag.
Art teacher, Sister Mary asked Susan who was her best student that time to design a flag after she heard of the competition and Susan had agreed.
Perhaps not everyone was as enthusiastic about the proposal, but when the government received a draft design from Susan it soon found widespread support.
It wasn’t until July 1, 1971 that the decision to adopt Susan’s design for the new PNG Flag became official. A flag in the proportion of 3:4 was then designed and on the arrival of the Independence on 16th September, 1975, the new PNG flag carrying Susan’s design was raised at the Independence Hill at Waigani, in Port Moresby.
The ceremony was accompanied by the beating of the drums and a loud cheer from the crowd who were present that time to witness the historic event.
During Independence the PNG flag was seen flown alongside the Australian flag on some official ceremonies, and Susan was invited to raise the flag on such occasions or on other important occasions which took place after Independence.
So immense, the applause it may have seemed, on the birth of our nation but for Susan Karike it was her proudest moment and she’s much more humbled by it.
The then 15-year old Susan’s work has received personal credits for her arresting design of Papua New Guinea’s flag from many who’ve seen her work.
And we as nation can only thank God for a very talented and gifted woman Susan Karike is.
No matter what, her proud legacy will leave on!
Papua New Guinea Flag Description:
The flag of Papua New Guinea consists of two diagonal triangular sections - the left section is black and the right section is red. Five, five-pointed, white stars representing the Southern Cross are in the black portion of the flag; while a yellow bird of paradise is in the red section.
Papua New Guinea Flag Meaning:
Black, red and yellow are traditional colors which are found in Papua New Guinean art and clothing. The yellow bird, a stylized bird of paradise, is culturally significant to Papua New Guineans and in full flight it represents freedom and the country's birth as an independent nation. The five stars symbolize the constellation the Southern Cross, representing the stars Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon, which is smaller because it doesn't shine as brightly as the other stars. The Southern Cross represents the country's geographical position in the world and its link to Australia, which also incorporates the Southern Cross on its flag.
Papua New Guinea Flag History:
The Papua New Guinea flag was adopted on July 1, 1971 and Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia on September 16, 1975.
Interesting Papua New Guinea Flag Facts:
The proportions of 3:4 make the Papua New Guinea flag almost square in shape.
A competition was held to design a flag for country in 1971. The government approved a design submitted by local art 15 -year -old student, Susan Karike. It became the national flag upon Papua New Guinea's independence.
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