Eight reasons for a new
New Zealand flag
1. 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
The New Zealand flag needs to have emotional and symbolic potency
in order for it to be embraced and used by New Zealanders.
2. 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.
Fern is used extensively as a symbol by Government, tourism, trade
organisations and commercial brands. The Silver Fern says "New Zealand".
3. 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.
4. 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
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.
5. 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.
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
have called the current flag "an absurdity."
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
We need a new flag that stirs the heart and focuses the mind. It’s time to move!