New Zealand is about to consider whether we should get a new flag, as our current flag is very similar to Australia’s, and dominated by the Union Jack.
Though some of my fellow kiwis are adamantly against abandoning this flag, I believe it is time we graduated to a flag that says something about us, our indigenous culture, and our current position as an independent, green, Pacific nation.
As part of this process, over 10,000 flag designs have been submitted. One of my friends is reviewing them all, and has been posting some interesting examples on Fb, inspiring me to look too. Many of the designs include symbolism from the land and sea and sky, and from Maori culture and art. The koru – the Maori symbol of new life, growth, strength and peace – is the unfurled frond of a silver fern or ponga, and appears in a lot of designs, as does a clear white band representing the long white cloud (taken from the Maori name for New Zealand (Aotearoa) – “The Land of the Long White Cloud”). Waves – as we are all immigrants in this land – and the Southern Cross constellation are common references too, though I liked seeing Matariki (the Pleiades), which herald the Maori New Year. There are some truly awful designs in the 10,000, but many wonderful ones too – here are two very different, but striking options.
(If you click on the flags, you’ll find explanations from the designers.)