4 Jan 2008

New Caledonia begins search for symbols of identity

11:24 am on 4 January 2008

A new name and a new flag are under discussion for New Caledonia as well as finding a new national anthem, a motto and a design for its future banknotes.

A public competition has opened to find the anthem, motto and banknote design, but the new name and flag will be decided by the Identity Signs Steering Committee.

These identity symbols are required as part of the process set out in the 1998 Nouméa Accord on greater autonomy.

French Pacific journalist, Patrick Decloitre, says the exercise of finding a new name is going to be tricky.

"The name of Kanacky, which has been very very linked to the pro-independence issue as well. There is also some kind of conciliatory approach that's being floated around at the moment that is to associate this word with New Caledonia in which way we don't know yet, put it first or put it after New Caledonia, so that's food for thought for that committee which is certainly going to be closely monitored by every player on the local scene."

The competition is open to all residents of New Caledonia and closes at the end of next month.