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Honolulu, Hawaii (U.S.)

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
Keywords: hawaii | honolulu | tabu sticks |
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[Flag of Honolulu, Hawaii] 3:4 (usage) image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 7 June 2004
Source: Discovery Channel website which in turn quoted World Book



See also:


Honolulu

Honolulu is the capital and largest city of the state of Hawaii. It is an unincorporated part of and the county seat of the City and County of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

The field of Honolulu's flag is dark yellow, with the city seal in the center. On a field of 3 by 4 units, the seal's diameter is 2 units. Its outer edge is also dark yellow and beveled to resemble a rope, detailed in black. Immediately within the outer edge is a white ring, the inner edge of which is red, bordered yellow and beaded in white. On the band thus formed between the two edges, arched over the top half from midpoint to midpoint is CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU in black block letters. Centered below and curved counterclockwise, is STATE OF HAWAII in the same letters. On each side between the upper and lower legends is a small five-pointed yellow star.

In the center vertical half of the seal is a baroque-style heraldic shield with a narrow border, colored like the seal's edges, that conforms to the shield's rounded edges with extra curlicues. The shield is divided quarterly, the first and fourth quarters being 8 horizontal stripes of white, red, and blue, beginning with white at the top. The second and third quarters have a yellow field charged with a black stick with a white ball on top, a pulo'ulo'u, also called a kapu or tabu stick. A small escutcheon of green charged with a small yellow five-pointed star, overlays the shield's center point. Above the shield, filling the space between the shield and the inner circle of the seal, is a yellow rising sun. The dexter supporter is Nuuanu Pali; the sinister supporter, Diamond Head, both in brown. The sky of both and the sea in front of Diamond Head are light blue while the canyon running down from Nuuanu Pali is green.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The yellow field is the color of Oahu's flower, the ilima. The shield of the seal was originally designed for the Republic of Hawaii in 1895. The red, white, and blue stripes of the first and fourth quarters come from the Hawaiian national flag (now the state flag). The eight stripes in each quarter represent the eight inhabited islands under one rule. The pulo'ulo'u are markers used in ancient times and during the monarchy, composed of a ball-like object, often cloth-covered, that was pierced by a stick and stuck in the ground to mark off areas reserved for nobility and royalty and beyond which commoners were forbidden to pass. The early balls were white, and later they were sometimes gold. These kapu markers symbolize authority and protection. The star in the center is the Star of Hawaii, and the rising sun symbolizes a new era dawning on Hawaii.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

In 1960 the new Ala Moana Shopping Center opened with 102 flagpoles. Ala Moana officials wanted to fly "meaningful" flags from the poles, and thought that the city flag should be among them. When they learned the city had no flag, shopping center staff asked a local commercial artist to design one, after which they presented it to city council for approval.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

For many years the existence of a flag was apparently forgotten and most city hall staff believed that there was no city flag. Not long ago, the old flag was rediscovered in a corner of a conference room. That flag had a lighter yellow field and variations in the colors of the emblems in the seal. It showed the old form of the kapu sticks, white with a yellow center in the "loop". The lettering was blue, as were the silhouettes of Nuuanu Pali and Diamond Head. The two stars on the ring of the seal were outlined in blue like a pentagram and the outer ring was depicted in yellow. The shield in the center was yellow with a blue star.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the flag

From http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/refs/cclpol/386.htm:

"Honolulu City Council Policy Resolutions

WHEREAS, many of the major cities of the United States have adopted official city flags for display at civic functions; and
WHEREAS, the City and County of Honolulu desires to adopt an official flag imprinted with the seal of the City and County; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Charles Tyng has submitted a design which is acceptable and appropriate for an official flag; and
WHEREAS, it would be to the honor, distinction and prestige of the City and County to adopt said design for the official flag of the City and County of Honolulu; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED that the flag design submitted by Mr. Charles Tyng be and it is hereby adopted for the official flag of the City and County of Honolulu; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the City and County of Honolulu be and he is hereby directed to transmit a copy of this resolution to Mr. Charles Tyng with the gratitude of the people of the City and County of Honolulu."

Information on the seal and image at www.co.honolulu.hi.us/council/interest.htm#seal
Dov Gutterman, 25 October 2002

Flag officially adopted 13 December 1960.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Detail of seal

[Detail of Seal in Honolulu, Hawaii Flag] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 June 2004

The central armorial bearings remind me of one pre-independence flag. What's the story?
António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 June 2004

From the website at www.co.honolulu.hi.us/council/interest.htm:

"The Seal of the City and County of Honolulu is circular in shape, three inches in diameter, and designed with the tinctures added as a basis for the coat of arms as a heraldic shield quartered; first and fourth quarters bearing the stripes and colors of the Hawaiian Flag; second and third quarters, on a yellow field, a white ball pierced on a staff; overall, a green escutcheon surcharge, with a five pointed yellow star in the center.

In 1895 in a competition for a design of a seal for the Republic of Hawaii, Viggo Jacobsen, originator of the design, explains the Great Shield as "...the keystone of the whole design. The eight bars represent the eight inhabited islands of the group under one rule. The tabu sticks are the emblem of authority and protection. The star in the center is the Star of Hawaii which we hope to see ultimately placed in the banner of the United States. The irradiated sun is symbolic of the new era which has dawned upon Hawaii..."

So we should note that the central bearings on the seal of the City and County on Honolulu are the same as the bearings of both the state and, before that, the kingdom of Hawaii. Other sites (including, www.hawaii.gov) add the "tabu sticks" are known in Hawaiian as pulo'ulo'u.
Andrew S. Rogers, 7 June 2004


Examples of flags

[Flag of Honolulu, Hawaii] image provided by E. Tory Laitila, 16 August 2010

Flag of the City and County of Honolulu manufactured under the administration of Mayor Frank F. Fasi, 1969-1981, 1985-1994; 4' by 5'; only one known to be made, still in use in Mayor's Office.
E. Tory Laitila, 16 August 2010

[Flag of Honolulu, Hawaii] image provided by E. Tory Laitila, 16 August 2010

Flag of the City and County of Honolulu manufactured under the administration of Mayor Jeremy Harris, 1994-2004; 3' by 5'; only two known to have been made; one still in use.
E. Tory Laitila, 16 August 2010

[Flag of Honolulu, Hawaii] image provided by E. Tory Laitila, 16 August 2010

Flag of the City and County of Honolulu manufactured under the administration of Mayor Mufi Hannemann, 2005-2010; 3' by 5'; 12 made in 2010 (3 double-sided with fringe, 9 standard); in use.
E. Tory Laitila, Registrar, Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts, 16 August 2010


Early Flag

[Juneau, Alaska] 2:3 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

For many years the existence of a flag was apparently forgotten and most city hall staff believed that there was no city flag. Not long ago, the old flag was rediscovered in a corner of a conference room. That flag had a lighter yellow field and variations in the colors of the emblems in the seal. It showed the old form of the kapu sticks, white with a yellow center in the "loop". The lettering was blue, as were the silhouettes of Nuuanu Pali and Diamond Head. The two stars on the ring of the seal were outlined in blue like a pentagram and the outer ring was depicted in yellow. The shield in the center was yellow with a blue star.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Honolulu Police Department

[Flag of Honolulu Police Department] image by Randy Young, 3 August 2016

The official flag of the Honolulu Police Department has a yellow field with a green circular logo centered on it. The green circle has the words "POLICE DEPARTMENT" in white capital letters across the top, and the words "CITY & COUNTY OF HONOLULU" in smaller white capital letters across the bottom, separated by two five-pointed white stars on the left and right edges of the circle. In the center of the circle are two puloulou. Across the bottom of the yellow field are the words "INTEGRITY," "RESPECT," and "FAIRNESS" in green capital letters, the words separated by five-pointed green stars.

Photos can be seen here, here, here and here. The flag is nearly always accompanied by a white flag bearing the logo of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, symbolizing the fact of the Department's status as an accredited law enforcement agency.

Randy Young, 3 August 2016

The crossed objects on the seal or logo are pulo'ulo'u, a symbol of protection consisting of a ball atop a staff. In ancient times pulo'ulo'u were placed on either side of the door of a place of refuge and protection. They also appear in the second and third quarters of the Coat of Arms of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Michael Halleran, 3 August 2016

Unofficial Design (found on internet)
[Unofficial Flag of Honolulu Police Department] image by Clayton Horner, 29 July 2016