Friday, August 14, 2015


 This (above) is the current New Zealand flag. The Southern Cross (stars) speaks of the southern hemisphere and the Union Jack pays homage to our colonial past - The Tangata Whenua (The original indigenous people) are not included - not a Maori motif in sight.

The government is spending NZ$26 million in a process that it hopes will create a new flag that we will reflect some sort of consensus. These 40 designs (above) have been chosen from over two thousand flag design submissions. This is how the process works:

1 - Flag submissions are made.
2 - A government appointed panel chooses forty designs.
3 - Four  designs are short listed from these forty designs.
4 - The public votes and chooses one of these four flag designs.
5 - The public then vote for either the existing flag or this one new design.

My feelings about the need for a new flag are somewhat ambivalent, as are the rest of the general public. My ambivalence has only been amplified by the rather insipid and uninteresting designs that have surfaced in the whole process.

This flag (above) featuring New Zealand footwear in the form of a pair of Jandals by New Zealand Herald newspaper cartoonist Rod Emmerson was submitted for consideration but did not make the long list of 40 flags (no surprise really).

I am not saying that I would want this particular flag with jandals as the new New Zealand flag but I think we need something of this ilk, something arresting, interesting, eye catching - something that has that 'Wow' factor. Most of the designs to date look more like corporate logos. I wouldn't be surprised if when 'push comes to shove' at voting time we just retain the status quo, not through conservatism, the inability to change or any sort of intransigence but simple because nothing that is being presented so far actually 'knocks our socks off'.

Although we are no longer a colony of Great Britain we are still part of the British 'Commonwealth' (Englands' club of old former colonies) and have other colonial attachments. As I post this, Queen Elizabeth the second is officially also the Queen of New Zealand and we have a Governor General who is the Queens representative.

Perhaps the time for a new flag is when New Zealand becomes 'The Republic of Aotearoa.'


Ben said...

This is an interesting and difficult subject. At first glance I like the one left under the most. As an outsider I recognize the fern as a new Zealand symbol, the southern cross for southern hemisphere countries and red white and blue that could refer to the Union Jack. But I agree with you, the designs are nothing special. This is the more true when you see them all 40 together. (In the Dutch flag red stands presumably for the people, white for the church and blue for nobility. This is really dull: three bands of different color ).
What surprises me is that there is no obvious design combining Union Jack, the fern and the curl (Koru?). In fact I see only one Union Jack in the 40 designs. When you analyze the symbols used, the top 3 are: Southern Cross 55 %, Curl (Koru?) 42 % and Fern 27,5 %.
Why did it all start? Are people unhappy with the existing flag?
Question: what power does the Governor General have, compared with the prime minister?

Alden Smith said...

All of this started as a 'pet' project of the current Prime Minister. Cynics say that it has to do with 'Legacy'. He, John Key the prime minister wants to be remembered as the man who facilitated the creation of a new Kiwi flag.

My favourite of the bland bunch would be the bottom row, first flag in the row, extreme left, silver fern with the southern cross.

The Governor General has some powers, but many performs a ceremonial function. The powers and functions differ among the remaining Commonwealth countries that are still "Constitutional Democracies" with the Queen as the head. In 1975 these powers were tested when the Governor General of Australia dissolved parliment - You can read about it here -----