In 1977 a flag of almost the same colours and symbolism as the future national flag was designed by local artist Kalontas Malon and adopted by the Vanua’aku Pati. When the party led the New Hebrides to independence as Vanuatu in 1980, the colours of the party flag (red, green, black and yellow) were chosen to be the basis for the national flag on Independence Day, July 30, 1980. A parliamentary committee chose the final design based on submissions from local artists.
The green represents the richness of the islands, the red symbolises the blood of wild boars and men, and the black the ni-Vanuatu people. The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Father Walter Lini, requested the inclusion of yellow and black fimbriations to make the black stand out. The yellow Y-shape represents the light of the gospel going through the pattern of the islands in the Pacific Ocean (approximately 83% of the people of Vanuatu profess Christianity).
The emblem in the black is a boar’s tusk — the symbol of prosperity worn as a pendant on the islands — along with two leaves of the local namele Cycad. The leaves are supposed to be a token of peace, and their 39 leaflets represent the 39 members [sic] of the Parliament of Vanuatu