I think anti-British opinion or a let’s-forget-the-past mindset are more prevalent in Australia than in New Zealand. Therefore, Australian might well change their flag first — and so NZL and Australia’s flag will no longer be similar, as this was one reason people gave for changing the NZL flag.
So voting has begun in the New Zealand flag referendum. I’ve gotta say, I like the alternative flag design by Kyle Lockwood. It really is very good. But to me it lacks the necessary gravitas. Why? Well, it looks a bit more like a logo than a national flag. To my eyes, anyway. I think it’s to do with the way the fern is incorporated into the design. I would like to put forward my own ideas again as first shown online almost two years ago:
Chess is a great game, perhaps impossible to improve upon. Yet chess players will sometimes decide to mix things up, just for fun, by playing to different rules. They might introduce new pieces, or new powers for current pieces, or even change the point of the game. This is called “fairy chess”.
Likewise, Rugby Union is a wonderful game, perhaps impossible to improve upon. But, just for fun, here’s a few rules that you might want to muck around with. So without further ado, I present to you the somewhat unfortunately named “Fairy Rugby Union”.
All rules are the same as in Rugby Union, except where stated below.
Scrums are great, but they also slow the game down. Replace with free kick for the team which would’ve had the put in.
Line outs are great, but like scrums take up time. Replace them with a throw in (under-arm or two-handed overhead) which can be in any direction. Which leads me on to…
Forward passes are allowed. The lack of forward passing renders Rugby unintelligible to people from largely non-Rugby-playing nations (in my humble experience). Which also leads to…
The offside rule, just like the forward pass rule, is unintelligble to many from largely non-Rugby-playing nations. Do away with offside altogether.
Now that tries will be relatively easy to score, change the ratio of points. For example, goals are still worth three, but a try is now two and a conversion five.
I used to love collecting stickers as a kid. But despite being an avid sticker collector, we were pretty poor, so the only album I ever completed was the Rugby World Cup 1999 album. It was (kinda still is) my pride and joy.
I may now be 31 years of age, but in female years that is about eleven. So I’m pretty excited to buy the Rugby World Cup 2015 Official Sticker Collection.
This seems to be the first RWC with no official album. What the hell!?!?!?!?
The Rugby Union World Cup 2015 kicks off this Friday. I’m really excited about it, even more excited than usual — probably because it’s being held in England.
Bit of a confession-cum-sob story to tell you, though.
I was born in ’84. My first World Cup was South Africa 1995. I have eagerly followed every World Cup since then, even completing the 1999 official sticker collection! (The only sticker collection I ever completed without having to order missing stickers)
Yet I went through a difficult period in late adolescence (of about five years) when I almost totally went off all sport. Just happened to co-incide with the 2003 World Cup.
Yeah, the one that England won(!) The only World Cup I didn’t avidly follow and watch. (The only World Cup England won, for Rugby newbs out there).
I’m hoping for a dream home win for England, a win I might actually experience this time! And I’m hyped. Especially so given our tough pool (including, as it does, Wales and Australia): but I say, Bring it on!
Another confession (of sorts) to make.
The Spring Boks, The Wallabies, the mighty All Blacks, The Frogs, Semis and Final. Meh. My favourite time of the tournament is the pool stages. That’s when we get to see plucky teams with plenty of heart that we don’t normally: the Japans, USAs, and Fijis (what’s left of their team that hasn’t been pinched by other nations, that is *cough* Tuilagi *cough*). I just can’t get enough of those minnows!
Which leads me to a novel and, though I do say it myself, genius idea.
After the pool stage, when the top two teams from each pool progress to the Quarter Finals, there should be a parallel Losers World Cup, where all the eliminated teams duke it out for the title of “Best of the Rest”™. A kind of Bronze Final for the entire competition, if you will. Or a Europa League type competition (for the association football fans in the room). You like?
All of this is to say: I’m bouncing up and down and giddy with excitement. Friday can’t come soon enough!
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, has said he wants to change the flag of New Zealand. The country needs a new flag to “acknowledge our independence”, and to represent modern New Zealand, rather than the current flag which, he says, “symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has now passed”. He calls for a flag that represents New Zealand as “it is now” rather than as it “once was”. He feels so strongly about it that he’s just announced that he’ll call a referendum on the issue within the next three years.
Of course, unless you’re totally ignorant, you’ll know what he’s talking about; the New Zealand flag, in a potentially twee and amusing manner, still has the British Union Jack stapled in the corner. This was standard across the Empire.
All the Colonies had a similar flag design: in the top left-hand corner (technically, the “canton”), the Union Flag; the rest, a field (usually red or blue) with some kind of coat of arms standing for the colony in question. Here are some examples.
Bermuda, Falklands, the British Indian Ocean Territory, and Canada. Wait, what? Yes, Canada’s flag looks a little different here. It was only in 1965 that the flag was changed to its current maple leaf design. There was an outcry for a new flag to show that Canada is its own country, no longer a colony of the “mother country”.
And similar voices can be heard in Australia and New Zealand, two countries which periodically consider ditching their colonial-style flags. I’m not going to weigh in on whether they should ditch their flags — but to say that a mere 28% of New Zealanders currently want to change the flag — I’m only going to make some suggestions for what they might want to change their flags to if they decide to change their flags at all.
But before I go on, it’s worth noting that out of New Zealand and Australia, NZL might have more cause to change; people often mistake their flag for the Australian one, but nobody ever mistakes the Aussie flag for the kiwi one! Poor New Zealanders. And so this article will only concern itself with the New Zealand flag.
What Makes a Good Flag?
A good flag should be iconic, recognisable, unmistakable, and should resonate with what the nations stands for and its heritage; yet, equally, it should be simple. So, here’s some criteria:
Reflect nation’s culture and/or history in a non-partisan way
Simple, powerful design
Sounds obvious, but: should be well-designed and look like it could actually be a real flag
Canada’s maple leaf flag, as well as the flags of other ex-colonies such as Papua New Guinea, provide good models for what is possible.
Depicting an Entire Culture in a flag
A New Zealand flag should probably represent both European and Maori heritage. But it shouldn’t imply the two are distinct or cannot co-exist. Indeed, it should show the oneness of the nation without implying homogeneity. Tricky. I think that, instead of European symbols or Maori iconography, a safer model is that followed by Canada and Papua New Guinea: let’s look to nature, something all Kiwis can get behind. It seems to me that New Zealand has three widely recognised emblems, two of which are unmistakably only New Zealand, all three of which are nature motifs. They are:
The Southern Cross (with red stars): a symbol shared with other Pacific nations
The Silver Fern
The Kiwi bird
Note also that the widely-recognised de facto New Zealand colours are black and white.
I suggest that any flag worthy of our four design goals and worthy of the Kiwi people, regardless of their ancestry, would incorporate one or more of these three symbols plus the black-white colour scheme.
Therefore, I humbly make the following suggestions.
Flag Idea 1: “Swiss Style”
I call this the “Swiss Style” Flag. It’s a square, like the Swiss flag, which along with the Vatican flag is one of only two square flags in the world. A square flag: now that’s distinctive. It also features the black and white New Zealand colours. And the current red-starred Southern Cross. The red of the stars also echo British and Maori colours. And I think that the use of arguably the most powerful colour combination ever — red, white, black — is another plus.
It ticks all four of our criteria. A great flag if I do say so myself.
Flag Idea 2
This flag is most obviously inspired by the Papua New Guinea example due to its bird motif: a Kiwi-style Southern Cross in the Kiwi colour scheme with the most Kiwi of all Kiwi things: a Kiwi. The PNG flag of course features the national bird of PNG. Exactly the same as the Flag Idea 1 above but expanded to include the bird.
Two variants: one all black, one with a black kiwi on a white field. Proportion is 1:2, the same as the present New Zealand flag. But we might decide to opt for, say, 3:5; certainly the all black version looks better to me as 3:5. Why? Because there is a more aesthetically pleasing gap between the kiwi and the Southern Cross (the split white/black version does not seem to have as large a gap due to the wonders of optical illusion).
Again, ticks all four criteria.
Flag Idea 3
This flag is the same as Flag 2 but goes in the Canadian direction of opting for plant life. Yes, that other NZL symbol: the silver fern. Again, two variants: one all black, and one with a white half.
Another design which fits our four criteria.
Flag 2 + 3
Basically a combination of Flag Ideas 2 & 3. I like that this one incorporates all three of the Kiwi symbols in one flag. It’s somewhat busier, of course, but I think it works very nicely. This could also work with a white kiwi and fern.
This tries to be more conservative by essentially leaving the flag as it is but for the removal of the Union Jack on the left-hand side and its replacement by the fern. It also happens to be my least favourite one — mainly because of the colour scheme, but also because I feel putting the cross to the right of the fern looks a bit clumsy (to me). I think both that the Southern Cross is a must, and that it must replace the Union Flag on the left-hand side (the “hoist”) of the flag.
Flags 5 & 6
Couple more variations on the above.
So there we are. Whether New Zealand ever changes its flag or not, and I express no opinion either way, I believe my designs are pretty fricking awesome. What do you think? (if you disagree, you’re wrong)
*I came up with all flag designs on this page. However, whilst that therefore includes Flag Design 4, I genuinely don’t remember if the flag 4 herein used was physically designed by me, or whether I saw that someone else had come up with the same design and so decided to borrow their construction.
“New Zealand to hold referendum on new, ‘post-colonial’ flag” by Toby Manhire (11th March 2014)