- By Lenard Day
Fed up with it’s own national flag being confused with the Australian flag (In the title image the Australian flag is shown above the New Zealand flag), New Zealand unveiled four possible options for a revamped design. This follows a public contest to put forth new flag design ideas, it is notable that non of the chosen finalist designs contain the colonial Union Jack flag of the United Kingdom.
Three of the four shortlisted designs, chosen from over 10’000 entries submitted by members of the public, feature the native silver fern, already the country’s unofficial national emblem. The fourth design depicts a koru, or unfurling fern frond, a traditional Mauri symbol of new life and beginnings.
Prime Minister John Key, who instigated the $26m NZ (£10.75 GBP) flag changing program, is a fan of the silver fern, already used as a logo by the All Blacks rugby team and other national sporting outfits.
Many New Zealanders are however underwhelmed by the final four designs chosen by the named Flag Consideration Committee.
Local media the New Zealand Herald lamented that the country had squandered a “once in a life time chance to reinvent ourselves, to rally behind a symbol that showed the world who we are and what we stand for.”
Others regretted that popular designs such as a kiwi fruit shooting green laser beams out of its eyes failed to make it to the finals.
The public will be asked to pick their favourite design in a November or December referendum. Then, in a second referendum in March 2016, the winning design will be pitted against the existing flag which features the British Union Jack in one corner and a scattering of stars, representing the Southern Cross, a distinctive constellation of four stars only visible from the far south of our planet.
In our offices here in London we had a vote of our own, the bottom right flag showing the constellation with the black and white fern was our choice.