Monday 8 February 2010

Change the New Zealand Flag

It seems the Kiwis, of which I'm one of em cobber (chilly bin, fush n chups, pavlova, marmite, Russell Cr...) dislike their national flag as much as their neighbours across the ditch.

Back in 2004, a group launched a campaign to change New Zealand's flag, however they failed, mainly because we underestimated the huge effort required.

"We failed to communicate the aims, objectives and benefits of the campaign to the largely apathetic, but often defensive masses," the co-ordinators say. "Five years later we believe that the underlying issues have not changed."
They say that New Zealanders are still not emotionally connected to their flag, and are still dissatisfied with its design and with what it represents.

The debate is the same in Australia, and rears it's head every Australia day. The fact remains that the current Aussie and Kiwi flag is a colonial emblem which does not well represent the way many feel about their respective country, its history or its future.
"It doesn't reflect the way we see ourselves nor the way we want others to view us," the team behind the new New Zealand flag say. "Yes, it's a huge task to get New Zealand's flag changed but hey, it's worth having a go."
Emerson /New Zealand Herald / 28 January 2005
The campaign, that has the support of numerous notable icons, promotes eight reasons for a new New Zealand flag...
  • A flag is meant to be flown
    Flags should be highly visible symbols of a nation’s presence. Because the current Union Jack-based flag does not resonate with New Zealanders, it is comparatively infrequently flown. Its uses are mainly confined to official buildings and occasions. A visit to any town in America or Switzerland, for example, shows what happens when a flag is a potent emotional symbol. The New Zealand flag needs to have emotional and symbolic potency in order for it to be embraced and used by New Zealanders.

    A flag needs to be instantly recognisable
    Test after test shows that the current New Zealand flag is immediately confused with flags of other countries, especially Australia. In many instances, a flag is used in an international context. There is no question that the Silver Fern is the most recognised symbol of New Zealand. For over a century the Silver Fern has been the emblem of our sports men and women. The Silver Fern is used extensively as a symbol by Government, tourism, trade organisations and commercial brands. The Silver Fern says "New Zealand".

    A flag is a brand
    New Zealand competes with other countries, cities, and commercial brands. Countries with the strongest, simplest flags tend to have the most cut-through impact. Today, commercial brands command greater recognition than most flags. As an export country competing on the world stage, we need our flag to be strongly competitive from a brand/ symbol/icon point of view.

    A flag needs to connect emotionally
    The heart needs to beat faster on sighting of our country’s flag. The Silver Fern is etched in the memory of great victories by the All Blacks, our runners Jack Lovelock, Peter Snell and John Walker, the rowing eight from Munich. The Silver Fern conjures up emotions of grit, guts and genius. It says, "take on the world ­ and beat it". These are emotions we need to encourage.

    A flag should represent great design
    The Government is committed to best practice design through the Design Industry Task Force. Great design is a feature of New Zealand’s creativity. From the founder of modern industry design practice, Joseph Sinel, through to Lord Of The Rings, our design standards have been world-leading. Our flag needs to match this standard. In today’s environment the current Union Jack-based flag is simply bad design, poorly composed, a muddle of ideas, thematically derivative and unoriginal. Some leading newspaper editorials have called the current flag "an absurdity."

    A new flag can honour our past
    The Silver Fern has been a feature of our iconography for well over a century. The All Blacks made it their official emblem in 1893. It first appeared on an official New Zealand flag in 1908. The Silver Fern was the predominant badge of our army in World War I, and the official insignia of the 2nd New Zealand Division in World War II. Changing from the Union Jack-based flag does not depreciate the sacrifice of men and women soldiers who fought in two world wars. Their efforts are recognised through permanent memorials in every New Zealand town, and through the commemoration of Anzac Day each year.

    A new flag should say one thing
    The job of a flag is to instantly signal the country of origin in the simplest, quickest, most potent manner. This means utilising a single powerful image rather than several elements and thereby diluting the potency of the symbol. There are many mediums for embroidering the layers and textures of our story ­ from a Coat of Arms through to art and music. The job of the flag is visibility, instant recognition and emotional cut-through. Our belief is that the stylised Silver Fern does the strongest job of satisfying the greatest number of New Zealanders at any one time.

    The times they are a changin’
    Symbolic change has been a feature of the governmental environment, with the scrapping of the Privy Council, the establishment of a New Zealand Supreme Court and the abolition of knighthoods. A new flag is not advocacy for New Zealand to become a republic (many commonwealth countries do not have the Union Jack in their flag). A Silver Fern-based flag blends our past, our present and our future into one emotional symbol. A new flag gives energy and a sense of independence and self determination in this new millennium.

There's many great designs for a new flag for our neighbourly dole-bludgers.


Graeme Smith said...

Hi Mike,

I am a Kiwi that has lived in Cairns since 1976
I like the idea that a flag should represent something important to its people.

I looked at all the silver fern and koru designs and quite liked them.

None of the designs struck me as “that’s it”
I feel the same way about the Oz flag designs that have been proposed.

Oliver Redlynch said...

I suppose when Australia becomes a republic (i.e. when dear Lizzie shuffles off her mortal coil in the next forty years or so) that will be the opportune time for a new flag. It never ceases to amaze me (as an ex-pom) that Australia still has the union jack on its flag and isn't yet a republic!

(I do like some of the NZ design proposals - is there an Australian equivalent of that site?)

K M Findlay said...

We are not going to change the New Zealand Flag. I will recognise no other.

K M Findlay

beachman said...

Hold on Mike,

Who said Australians' dislike their flag? I for one am very proud of the flag we have and I plus many people I know will certianly vote to keep the ANF exactley how it is today.
Personally I don't think you have any right what so ever to comment, rubbish or tell me what flag my country should call its own.

Perhaps if you ever wore this country's uniform, of stood for its freedom and rights you may have a little more respect for the country many of us love and cherish.

nocturnal congress said...

Well, I like the Southern Cross on the Aussie flag, but I think that instead of the Union Jack in the corner, we should have the aboriginal flag of red, yellow and black. Oh and I'd make the flag red instead of blue.