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TAFEA Nation (Vanuatu)

Tanna, Anatom, Futuna, Erromango and Aniwa islands secessionist movement

Last modified: 2021-05-15 by ian macdonald
Keywords: tafea | tanna | anatom | futuna | erromango | aniwa | independentist |
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Description

A second Tannese attempt to secede from the New Hebrides came in 1980. On 1 January 1980 the Tafea Nation was proclaimed at Lamlu, in the centre of Tanna. The Kapiel Alliance, a pagan party based in Middle Bush in the centre of the island, was the moving force behind this effort. A unilateral declaration of independence was issued and a flag raised. Bonnemaison describes the flag as "a five-pointed yellow star on a green background with three yellow bars on the right.*" The name of the nation was made up of the initials of the five islands that made up the new country: Tanna, Anatom, Futuna, Erromango and Aniwa. Tafea was defeated when British forces attacked the secessionists on 26 May 1980. The Tafea flag was seized by the British.

Sources: Joël Bonnemaison, The Tree and the Canoe: History and Ethnogeography of Tanna, Honolulu, 1994; Jean Guiart, Le mouvement "Four Corner" à Tanna (1974), Journal de la Société des Océanistes, Vol. XXXI, 1975, pp. 107-111.
Jan Oskar Engene, 13 June 1998

*The original text of Joël Bonnemaison, in all his books, states:
"étoile jaune à cinq branches sur fond vert avec trois barres jaunes à droite"
= a five-pointed yellow star on a green background with three yellow bars on the right.

An earlier version of this translation mis-translated it as "three yellow bars on the left"

See for example
1. Tanna, Les hommes lieux, by Joël Bonnemaison. Editions de l’ORSTOM, 1987.
https://horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins_textes/pleins_textes_6/Tra_d_cm/24851.pdf
2. La dernière île, by Joël Bonnemaison. Ed. Arléa / ORSTOM, 1987.
https://horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins_textes/divers11-10/23035.pdf

In Une pirogue pour le paradis. Le culte de John Frum à Tanna (Vanuatu) by Marc Tabani, Paris, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 2008: p.98
https://books.google.fr/books?id=wVMrDwAAQBAJ&;pg=PA98&lpg=PA98#v=onepage&q&f=false
"On February 15, 1980, in Sulphur Bay, three flags were hoisted together: the USA flag, the flag of TAFEA, and the French flag."

Olivier Touzeau, 5 April 2021


Possible flag appearance

[Possible Tafea Nation flag (Vanuatu)] image by Olivier Touzeau, 5 April 2021

[Possible Tafea Nation flag (Vanuatu)] image by Olivier Touzeau, 5 April 2021

[Possible Tafea Nation flag (Vanuatu)] image by Olivier Touzeau, 5 April 2021

Concerning the stripes, we may surmise that they are horizontal, taking a look at all the other flags in Vanuatu at this period. However, this is not certain at all, and the hypothesis of vertical bars may be right.

Three designs can be imagined from this description:
- With the three horizontal stripes in the fly
- With a design inspired by the USA flag, and the star in fact in the canton
- With the three vertical bars in the fly

I send the images in 3:5, but the ratio is of course unknown. The only certainty we have is on the colors, and the placement to the fly of the stripes.

Olivier Touzeau, 5 April 2021


 
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