Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

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.

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

7 thoughts on “Will the Red Peak fly?

  1. I like the incorporation of the two current flags, and, as you say, the simplicity of the design. (The Maori flag is neat – I’d never seen it.) The visual organization of your post helps carry your point.

    • I would have been happy to see the Tino Rangatiratanga flag as our national flag, but unfortunately there’s sufficient prejudice against Māori culture in some sections of the community that such an option is a non-starter. The Red Peak design gets around that prejudice by the use of four colours and the triangles have a connection to the Union Jack on our current flag.

  2. I really like the red peak flag design Barry.

  3. The Red Peak design looks really awesome. I like that you can put a bunch of meaning into it too, as well as blending cultural colors together. Y’all will have the most awesome flag I think.

  4. The Red Peak is definately most flag-like among the different suggestions for the many practical and symbolic reasons you refer to. To my eye it is even far more flag-like than your current flag. On the other hand I really like the delicate and artistic sense of the silver fern leaf-design on some of the others. It is a tough call.

    I do not know how I would react if we had a similar attempt to change our flag to better represent the many different ethnicities of our nation. Our flag was apparently originally some 100 years ago the flag of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, wich in turn was derived from the Russian navy flag wich is a blue St. Andrews cross on white. But do not tell that to other Finns, because they might be very upset. I however, somewhat enjoy the irony of it…

    Flags have their history and as symbols it might be good for them to better represent the people they stand for, than how they do in the changed understanding of of reality and the changing world. But the world changes all the time. When our flag was chosen, almost all of Finns were members of the Lutheran church, because they had no other option. Today less than 70% is more accurate and only very few of those are in any way interrested or really involved in any religious activity, exept perhaps their own funeral at some point. Should we too change our flag, now that we better understand our multicultural and diversive ethnicity, not to speak of our varying religious affiliations? Perhaps. But I do not see that as necessary. Since Finnish muslim soldiers have felt it good enough flag for them to fight under in defence of the liberty of our nation, it would seem somewhat silly of me as an atheist, who does not take the cross as anything magical to feel any different from them.

    It is interresting what sort of thought processes contemplating something like a flag, that we so easily take at face value, evokes. Is it not?

    • Hi, I’m sure you were addressing Barry, but I just wanted to say (since I’m a reader of his and thus saw your comment) that I agree with your last statement wholeheartedly and feel that such contemplation is an important part of early education, so we can carry the skill into our adult lives and world community.

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