Flag raising ceremony at the Vanuatu High-Commission in Canberra, Australia (17 October 2012)

by Sébastien Lacrampe and Miranda Forsyth.

Vanuatu raised its flag officially for the first time ever at the High Commission chancery in Canberra last week in a small but historically significant ceremony in the suburb of Deakin.  The ceremony occurred on a sunny and mild spring morning and the attendees were rewarded with the sight of the Vanuatu flag officially flying for the first time in the blue Canberra sky while hearing the national anthem.

The event started at 8 am under the direction of John Jack, secretary of the Canberra Vanuatu Students Association (CVSA) as the MC. Highlights of the ceremony included an introductory speech by His Excellency Kalfau Kaloris, the High Commissioner of Vanuatu in Australia, a dedication prayer for the flag conducted by Mr. Sowany Joseph, Director of Cooperatives and Ni-Vanuatu Business, the raising of the flag by CVSA President Major Iavro Robson, and finally, a speech on behalf of the Vanuatu government by Mr. Georges Maniuri, Director General for the Ministry of Finance and Economic management.

In the true spirit of Vanuatu hospitality refreshments followed, including of course some very welcome Tanna Coffee.  Other officials present included Mr. Jerryson Lapi, Senior Analyst in the Department of Strategic Planning, Policy and Aid Coordination and Mr. Terry Kapah, Senior Finance Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the former Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Mr Perry Head.

Those attending the ceremony included representatives from the Vanuatu resident community in Canberra and friends. It is hoped that the new High Commission will become a hub for the Vanuatu community in Australia, and will be able to offer support for Ni-Vanuatu who come to Canberra for study and placements, as well as strengthening Australia-Vanuatu relations. The High-Commission is to be officially opened at a later date.

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