National flag still belongs to Susan, husband says

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THE PNG flag is the late Susan Karike Huhume’s property and not the country’s as no proper recognition had been given, the designer’s husband says.
Nanny Huhume said his wife died in 2017 and no proper recognition or burial was given to her by the Government which remained a concern for the family, especially when she was a national figure and contributor to the independent state of Papua New Guinea.

Susan Karike was a young schoolgirl on Central’s Yule Island where she participated in the nationwide search for a national flag. On July 1, 1971, Karike’s design became official as the national flag for Papua and New Guinea.

“No proper recognition was given when my wife was still alive and up to the time when she died and was buried,” he said.
“The previous governments, from Somare’s time up to now, have done nothing.”
Huhume said because there was no proper recognition or compensation, the PNG national flag was still his wife’s property and not the State’s.
“When she died, no one came to help or properly farewell her,” he said.
“Her contribution to the country will remain and will be seen by generations and generations to come.
“At her haus krai, it took me three months to peacefully bury her without assistance from the Government.
“We got a memo from the Prime Minister’s Office (Peter O’Neill) that they would help us with vehicles and other things to take the body to Kerema for burial and we waited in vain for three months.”
Huhume said there was also no proper recognition or help from the Gulf government.
“We buried her on July 28, 2017, without a proper ceremony.”


  • It’s a very sad story to read. All calls going unanswered is embarrasing. At least a “Yes” or a “No” or “Wait” is an answer rather than being ignored for 50+years.

  • I feel for her family ,its a pity that people are not recognized for their service to the country especially for Susan .

    Please someone in authority at least acknowledge her work.

  • It’s a big shame and disgrace for the successive governments to ignore such a person who had a significant contribution to PNG as a whole. The late Susan Karike created our national identity through the flag and she deserves a better recognition from the State.

  • He told me a story of the government not recognising his wife. I felt sorry for his family and Susan. Something must be done. Nanny is still living on his pension.

  • It is tragic and disgraceful that a person who basically gave us an “identity” as a united people, was never properly recognised for her contribution — it is sadly, the same to/for a majority of other passed on heroes/iconic figures of our nation. Instead, ironically, we have people lining up to give themselves “knighthoods” for reputations, and deeds that are, “questionable” at best.

    I work and live abroad, and yesterday (Sep 16), it gave me so much pride and overwhelming emotion, to walk up to one of the most iconic and infamous buildings in the world, Westminister Abbey, and see the PNG Flag flying on the top mast of the church, and know that my country was being honoured in such a way.

    Thank you, late Susan, for your service. The “world” may not have properly recognised you, but God does. May you find the rest and peace you long for.

  • Very sad to read such a story. “When she died, no one came to help or properly farewell her” is really a sad line. It is a unfair treatment by the government to someone who proudly designed such a beautiful national flag.

    The government must at least do something to the family members in appreciation of the late beautiful lady’s contribution towards our nation.

  • Why has it taken these many years and yet no single appreciation from any (now eight) governments? this is so sad. people have been recognized for their different contributions for the nation building these many years. What has gone wrong to recognize such a simple lady (Late Susan Karike Huhume) for her enormous contribution for this beautiful christian nation’s Identity? Please we know it is though time for current government but, can it look into this grief? small or big, at least a recognition/appreciation for her contribution is worthy.

  • She is a National Icon because she designed the National Flag. She deserves where credit is due.
    Sorry that she did not get the recognition. Hope one day the government of PNG will come to it’s senses.

  • Shame on past and current govt, past and current PMs, for total negligence and ignorance of an Icon of PNG. The world recognize PNG whether in UN, international forums, be it in politics, social, economic, sports or spiritual, Late Susan’s creation depicts, defines and attached due recognition to us as a country, a nation. Without her, there is no PNG identity. The govt can give recognition and presents awards and medals to many, (most dont deserve it at all), yet Late Susan was never a recipient (to be confirmed). Shame Shame on yous. You can corrupt and enrich yourselves with power and money, yet it’s so so much difficult to give her a well deserve send off to rest in peace. You are blinded with weath and greed, most of the time you can’t even see what’s beside or around you. Rest in eternal peace my Gulf Lady, nature has it’s own ways of putting the wrongs right. GOD BLESS you and your family. Sariva Meta.

  • The original design of the flag was by an Australian Aritist Hal Holman, he got a formal recognition for it as well as PNG crest/emblem from the government, Susun Huhume altered the design and added meaning and depth to the flag, yet she never got any proper recognition for it.

    • (You made me visit wikipedia to get this)

      Prior to independence, the Australian administration proposed a vertical tricolour flag with blue, yellow and green bands, along with the bird of paradise and southern cross, designed by a Mr Holman.[2] It had a mainly negative reception, due to its appearance as that of a “mechanically contrived outcome”, thus the alternative proposal attributed to Susan Karike was chosen instead. The blue was said to represent the sea and islands of New Guinea, the Southern Cross was a guide for the travelling peoples, the gold represented the coastlines, mineral wealth, and unity, and the green represented the forested highlands and mainland, with the Bird of Paradise representing the unification under one nation.

      The Southern Cross shows that it is a country in the Southern Hemisphere and can be seen in Papua New Guinea

  • the national government should have done something worthy as she is such a public figure and one way or the other , she is a national hero for designing such a colorful and meaningful flag which represents 8 million plus people. i for one strongly support the late’s husband that the national government must at least recognize her for her effort put.

  • When there is no proper recognition given to such king of important figure? what a great shame to the eyes of the people as a whole, is that how PNG will treat its important people without proper recognition for burial. I think the later leaders when they are being deceased will not given proper cons9ideration for proper burial, this was a very bad start, Common PNG improve on such kind of behavior. if countries like USA, Australia, Japan, England, China, North and South Korea heard about this, there will be a great embarrassing to the government of PNG. Please PNG pull your socks up and never again ignore our important figures who have try all their best to bring PNG from no way up to this kind of state where it become the eye staring object for the world to see.

  • If the government can recognize other heroes/icons of PNG especially in sports why not our Late Lady Susan Karike Huhume be recognized highly then today’s heroes/icons. Flying our flags during Pacific Games after a win people all across the world may see and know that this is Papua New Guinea, without our flag no one will know where the representetives are from. At least a house or a place in Port Moresby should be named after her as a special recognition for her effort towards the countries contribution to make its Independence successful.

    Olo man!!!! Where is our so called Government heading??? It’s so sad to read such a heart felt yet frustrating story. Something should be done when she was still alive and during her burial ceremony.

  • Susan Karike entered the competition like everybody else for the flag design. However, she won the competition and as in competition, we expect a grand prize. I don’t know if she ever got that or was ever recognized in anyway but i think she should be. Not in a weird way like when she asked for it and you give it to her.

    But I personally think she got that recognition because she would be remembered during the Independence celebration every year in PNG like now. The government of PNG might not have noticed her but all the people of PNG especially educated ones know the person who designed the flag. I knew when i did my Gr. 6 so no wonder every young people today know her name (Susan Karike). It is also in the school syllabus for social science and History subjects.

  • It’s really embarrassing for the Papua New Guinean’s government. Many Papua New Guineans have claimed it, many have embraced it, many have taken pride in it, many have boasted about it. The bird, which you won’t find it in any part of the world but Papua New Guinea, the colors; the gold,red, black and white which in itself spoke uniquely about our country’s most popular traditional colors when it comes to body decorations and attires and other artistic work such as bilums and baskets and many more, without knowing that the artist (Susan Karike) has never been paid for her artistic and talented gift which is now claimed to be the National Flag of Papua New Guinea. It’s so…so…sad. As a proud Papua New Guinean I’m one of the most admire of the flag-(I say flag and not the national flag because it’s Susan karike’s flag) because the flag itself speaks of me, my culture, my tradition. It identifies me of who I am. As a Papua New Guinean I’m really embarrassed about the government’s way of gratitude. It’s truly and totally embarrassing.

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