Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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Will the Red Peak fly?

By popular demand (and an act of Parliament) a fifth flag has been added to the list from which Aotearoa New Zealand will select a possible replacement to our current flag. Initially I didn’t like the so called Red Peak design but it has been growing on meProposed Red Peak flag.The silver fern will always be our national symbol – even more so than the kiwi, but that doesn’t mean that it must be incorporated into a new flag design. There are a number of reasons why I’m leaning towards Red peak, some of which include:RedPeadproportions-640x640

Simplicity of design. Of the five proposed flags, this is very easy to draw. Even I child can easily get the proportions right. Take any medium, preferably of flag proportions (2:1) and divide it into quarters lengthwise, and half vertically. The key points to draw the flag can be readily found on the quarter and half way intersections. What could be easier? Try finding a simple mathematical method of reproducing the existing flag or one of the alternative proposals.

NZ flagTino_Rangatiratanga-400x400Colours of two cultures. It includes the red, white and blue represented in the current flag and the black, white and red that are represented in the Tino Rangatiratanga Māori sovereignty movement flag and the colours most used in traditional Māori art. While it can rightly be argued the NZ is no longer bi-cultural but multicultural, the Treaty of Waitangi recognises the partnership between the Māori as the original inhabitants and the crown, representing those who came later.

Symbolism.newzealand_flag The triangle and chevron is a frequent pattern in Māori tāniko weaving designs. Aotearoa New Zealand is the first country to see the dawn rise each day, represented by the black and blue at the top left and right. The white chevron represents our mountains and can also represent the clouds of Aotearoa (translation: “Land of the long white cloud”). The red represents the profile of a wharenui (carved meeting house) and can also represent the volcanoes of the Pacific ring of fire on which New Zealand sits. The red and white together is the top tip of the stylised stars of the Southern Cross as portrayed on our current flag.

Scales well. At small scales complex patterns become unrecognisable. In the media rich on-line and broadcast world, flags are often used to identify countries. Think of Olympic result tables and progress charts on a web page or television screen. At very small scales the stars on on current flag disappear, and is impossible to distinguish from the Australian flag. The silver fern motif on the alternative designs becomes unrecognisable.:

Australia New Zealand Black and white fern Silver fern red white and blue Koru Silver fern black white and blue Red peak USA Canada United Kingdom Mexico South Africa China France
Australia New Zealand Black and white fern Silver fern red white and blue Koru Silver fern black white and blue Red peak USA Canada United Kingdom Mexico South Africa China France
Australia New Zealand Black and white fern Silver fern red white and blue Koru Silver fern black white and blue Red peak USA Canada United Kingdom Mexico South Africa China France

Which flags are readily identifiable at the smallest scale? There is no mistaking the Red Peak design.

So will the Red peak flag fly, or any of the alternative proposals for that matter? I would like to think so, but judging by the lack of interest I detect from most Kiwis, I suspect the final outcome will be retention of the current flag. And that, I think would be a shame.

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I Am Autism

Although I don’t display many of the “common” characteristics of autism, I know precisely what the author of the following piece experiences.

My Autistic Dance

You don’t know me.

You see me sit, rocking.
You hear me talk to myself,
Repeating phrases from the TV.
You watch my hands as they flap
And touch. Seemingly random,
My patterns escape your notice.

You don’t know me.

You see me on the edges,
Quiet, listening but not speaking.
You hear my outbursts:
Violent eruptions of sound and motion.
You note my non-compliance
With black marks in your ledgers.

You don’t know me.

You try to change me,
Remake me in your own image.
You teach me that I am broken.
You punish me for being myself.
You make me fearful and anxious,
Afraid to break your rules.
You drive me deep inside myself.

You don’t know me.

You don’t empathize with me.
You don’t learn about me.
You don’t try to understand me.
You fear me, hurt me, hate me.
You don’t love me: if you did,

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What a load of bull!

Whenever I travel to Whanganui to visit friends and family, I pass through the small town of Bulls (population: 1,800). There is not much that is particularly remark-a-bull about the town, except it enjoys making unforget-a-bull puns with its name. They are to be seen everywhere, which does make the town rather memor-a-bull. A large sign as you enter Bulls makes it obvious that the locals enjoy making fun of the name: Herd of Bulls? It’s a town like no udder.

Some of the puns are terr-a-bull, others are incred-a-bull. So here, without further ado are just a few of the building signs that can bee seen as you pass through.

  • Avail-a-bull: Dairy (convenience store)
  • Bank-a-bull: Bank
  • Const-a-bull: Police station
  • Cure-a-bull: medical centre
  • Delect-a-bull: Café
  • Eat-a-bull: A delicatessen
  • Everything imagine-a-bull: Farm park & café
  • Extinguish-a-bull: Fire station
  • Fashion-a-bull: Women’s apparel
  • Forgive-a-bull: Anglican church
  • Full-as-a-bull: local pub
  • Indispense-a-bull: Pharmacy
  • Inform-a-bull: The information centre
  • Irresist-a-bull: Sweet shop (candy store)
  • List-a-bull: A real estate agency
  • Live-a-bull: Another real estate agency
  • Love-a-bull: Childcare centre
  • Memor-a-bull: Museum
  • Non-return-a-bull: Plunket Society (support services for the development, health and well-being of children under 5)
  • Park-a-bull: A car park (parking lot)
  • Read-a-bull: Public Library
  • Reliev-a-bull: Public restrooms
  • ReSpect-A-bull: RSA (Returned Services Association – a non-profit society for ex-military personnel)
  • Stock-a-bull: Supermarket
  • Store-a-bull: Storage facility
  • Social-a-bull: Town hall
  • Veget-a-bull: Fruit & vegetable shop
  • Wear-a-bull: Clothing shop

They haven’t stopped at building signs. For example, wording on public rubbish bins (trash cans) urge you to be “RESPONSE-A-BULL”.

One company in particular (Palat-a-bull) has taken the Bulls branding to another level. Here’s a list of some of their products:bulls-semen-salad-sauce3

  • Genuine Bulls Cream – Cream from Bulls (cream)
  • Bulls Semen – extracted from Bulls with their consent (salad sauce)
  • Bulls Eye Chilli Sauce – This ‘lord of the ring’ chilli sauce was tested on Bulls
  • Grill-a-Bulls (a range of sausages)
  • Bulls Wool – It’s about ewe and your baa skin (a range of merino wool products)

A signpost at the intersection of two highways even includes a sign pointing to Cowes in Australia!

What makes this town so remark-a-bull is that it’s the only place in the world where you can get milk from Bulls. I think that’s enough puns for one day.


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Grab life by the wheels!

Every once in a while, a great idea comes along that has the potential to radically improve the life of those with a disability. A client of mine who has the talent of thinking outside the box has come up with a brilliant concept to improve the mobility of many who are restricted to a wheelchair. Meet Kevin Halsall – the inventor of the ogo.


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Our new flag?

Four-promoDuring November and December this year, Kiwis will select by a binding referendum one of four flags to go up against our current flag in another binding referendum early in 2016. Personally, I’ve never much liked our current flag: it’s too often confused with the Australian flag; The union Jack in the top left quadrant is a reminder of our colonial past; and the stars representing the Southern Cross can be seen on many flags from the Southern Hemisphere.

NZ flag

Our current flag

Judging from the general lack of interest in the flag debate, I suspect, that no matter which flag wins out in the referendum this year, it will lose in the face-off against the current flag in next year’s referendum. If that does happen, I for one will be deeply disappointed, as to my mind, any of the four contenders is better at making a statement about our national identity.

All four designs are based on the fern leaf. One is a stylised frond as it starts to unfurl – the koru, a common symbol in Maori art. The other three represent the silver fern – a fern species that has a special place in the hearts of all New Zealanders.

The Flag Consideration Project has gone to the effort of depicting the flag under different circumstances, so here for your edification are the four finalists.


Black-and-white-fern-flat

Silver Fern (Black & White) by Alofi Kanter

Silver Fern (Black & White)

Designer’s description:

The fern has been a distinctive symbol of New Zealand for the past 100 years. Strong and simple, it represents our uniqueness as Aotearoa New Zealand and the black and white colours show our ‘yin and yang’, with the softly curved spine of the frond binding us all together as a young, independent and proud nation. Credit for the fern goes to The New Zealand Way Limited.

Black-and-white-fern-reverse

Silver Fern (Black & White) flying backwards from a pole on a windy day.

Black-and-white-fern-limp

Silver Fern (Black & White) hanging limp from a pole as it would when indoors or on a windless day.

flying alongside other member nations, outside the United Nations in New York

Silver Fern (Black & White) flying alongside other member nations, outside the United Nations in New York.


Silver-fern-red-white-and-blue-flat

Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood

Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue)

Designer’s Description

The Southern Cross represents New Zealand’s location in the southern hemisphere and each star is representative of the islands of New Zealand. The silver fern with its multiple points represents the multiple cultures of New Zealand joining together as one and growing upwards and onwards into the future. I also spent a little bit of time in the military and I wore a silver fern on my beret. The blue represents the Pacific Ocean which our ancestors crossed to get to New Zealand, the red is reflective of our history and our culture and our heritage and the white of course represents Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.

Silver-fern-red-white-and-blue-flag-flying-reverse

Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) flying backwards from a pole on a windy day.

Silver-fern-red-white-and-blue-limp-on-pole

Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) hanging limp from a pole as it would when indoors or on a windless day.

Silver-fern-red-white-and-blue-UN-building

Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) flying alongside other member nations, outside the United Nations in New York.


Koru-black-flat

Koru by Andrew Fyfe

Koru

Designer’s description

As our flag unfurls, so too does its koru. The koru represents the fern frond, but is also reminiscent of a wave, a cloud, and a ram’s horn. In Māori kowhaiwhai patterns the koru represent new life, growth, strength and peace, and for this reason has taken a special place in Aotearoa’s visual language.

Koru-black-reverse

Koru flying backwards from a pole on a windy day.

Koru-black-limp

Koru hanging limp from a pole as it would when situated indoors or on a windless day.

Koru-black-UN

Koru flying alongside other member nations, outside the United Nations in New York.


Silver-fern-black-white-and-blue-flat

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue)

Designer’s description

The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa’s peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. The bright blue represents our clear atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean, over which all New Zealanders, or their ancestors, crossed to get here. The Southern Cross represents our geographic location in the antipodes. It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands.

Silver-fern-black-white-and-blue-flag-flying-reverse

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) flying backwards from a pole on a windy day.

Silver-fern-black-white-and-blue-limp-on-pole

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) hanging limp from a pole as it would when indoors or on a windless day.

Silver-fern-black-white-and-blue-UN-building

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) flying alongside other member nations, outside the United Nations in New York.


silver fern

The silver fern

What is notable by its absence is my preferred design of the silver fern on a back background. I’m taking a reasonable guess that it is missing, because it would win hands down in a four-way competition. But it is a sporting symbol – originally representing the All Blacks, and now waved anywhere a NZ sports team competes. Being a sports flag, a great many would hesitate selecting it as a national flag. In a two way face off with the current flag, it is unlikely to do as well as one of the short listed flags.

So there you have it. I have a choice to make, but I’m undecided as yet. I’m leaning towards the Alofi Kanter Silver fern, but I like the inclusion of the Southern Cross in the two Kyle Lockwood designs. It gives some continuity with our current flag. Wnich flag stands out the best for you?