In the white central stripe, it has a blue emblem surrounded by five stars. The five stars represent the five high islands that constitute the Austral Islands: Rurutu, Tubuai, Rimatara, Rivavae, and Rapa. The emblem is a stylized penu, rock or piece of carved coral used to crush food or medicines, and it symbolizes the archipelago. The red stripes are a reminder that the archipelago is part of French Polynesia and blue signifies the sea.
On 4 December 1985, the Territorial Government issued a decree that the flags of the archipelagos and islands of French Polynesia may be flown next to the French Polynesian Territorial and French National flags.