Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Our new flag?

4 Comments

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?

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Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and was diagnosed as being autistic aged sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

4 thoughts on “Our new flag?

  1. Hmmm. Obviously the tastes of the Aotearoa New Zealanders is the determining factor here – as it should be, That said, I have to admit that after considerable pondering I like the simple black and white fern the best. I find the two flags with the Northern Cross on them, to be too busy. . From my trucking days, when the dashboard of a truck is designed , it is set up so that the gauges can be “read ” at a fast glance. When in perfect operating range, the gauge needles are straight up and down so no “reading” is necessary – all the required info can be gained with a very quick glance. Any gauges with needles not straight up and down are immediately identifiable and can be viewed in greater detail. That recognition at a glance is critical for many things, including flags.That rules out the busy -ness of the two multi-colored flags, They require contemplation for recognition.

    That leaves the two black and white flags. As a non-New Zealander, you would have to explain the Maori wave ( which is an example of a Fibonacci sequence found everywhere in nature) to me. The simplicity and obvious meaning behind the black and white fern is immediately obvious whereas the wave would have to be explained.

    So, I’m voting for the black and white fern on the revers colored background.

  2. You Kiwi’s are a trip, Barry! Four flags?? Good grief! I’m just teasing you. 😉

    Personally I’m fond of spirals and love the symbolism here, “the koru represent new life, growth, strength and peace.” We have a lot of ferns where I live too, but those little fronds that spiral are my favorite.

  3. This is mostly a matter of taste. But flags are important symbols of identity.

    Here in Finland we have a blue cross over a white canvas, in the Nordic flag style, that is adopted from the most ancient national flag in the world – Danneborg – the Danish flag, wich alledgedly flew down from the heavens to a crusading Danish king when they were on a rampage of conquest and robbery in Estonia 1219. Finland adopted the flag as a result of our civil war in wich it had served as the symbol for the winning side, that brutally exterminated the losing side in concentration camps. Despite the bloody histories of these two flags they have grown on to the nations they now represent. If we were ever to have a vote about a new flag, I would find it quite unlikely that people would give up the symbol they have been accustomed to serve as an identifyer in their national identities, regardless of all the negative history and questionable symbolism connected to them. The extreme nationalists are nowadays trying to steal these national symbols in so many country into their numb and stupid black and white thinking.

    I agree with Paul, that as the flag is a heraldic device and heraldically having more than two colours or very complex designs is quite busy – even a bit nervous one or the other of the two black and white designes might serve better. Having said that, I personally kind of like the busy colours of the two with the southern cross on them. The black corner and the fern leaf would make your flag stand out even when unflurred by the wind. My favourite is the last one on the line. Even though, having those Red-Army stars on your flag is a bit peculiar, I believe you had them first.

    The new South-African flag is also quite busy, but it serves also as very distinctive because the multicoloured nature sets it apart from all the other flags in the world and thus makes it easy to recognize even at a glance from afar. Besides, flags do not only serve as national symbols, but also as a brand for what you do and who you are to the rest of us.

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