Guest post: The flag – a change is gonna come

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, August 4th, 2015 - 169 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Enzo's flag

My name is Enzo Giordani, I am a dyed in the wool Labour voter, supporter and activist, and despite my party’s line on this I am advocating to change the New Zealand flag.

Why would I commit such a heinous act? Well, it’s quite simple really – I don’t like the current flag. The referendum process the government is undertaking might be expensive, there might be better things to spend the money on, but despite all that it is happening and I for one want to use this opportunity to promote something better.

The current flag references our former colonial masters and the heritage of our European ancestors, but it does not reference, in any adequate way, our indigenous people who were here before the rest of us and are precisely one half of our Treaty partnership. It represents the oppression of the Maori people that occurred when this country was colonised. It screams of an inability to grow up. It depicts us as subservient children under the watchful gaze of a former world power that lost its empire a very long time ago.

And aside from anything else, it’s embarrassing on the world stage. Amongst numerous other examples, Jamaica ditched their Union Jack in 1962, Canada ditched theirs in 1965, yet here we still are…

I see this referendum as a fantastic opportunity to be part of a change that is going to happen one day, whether we like it or not, with or without you or I. Allegiance to Mother England and the Union Jack is dying out as older generations with ties to the United Kingdom are replaced with new generations more and more distant from our colonial past. One day the critical mass will be there. It might not happen in 2015, but the day is coming.

When that day does come, where will you be? Let’s say it’s 20-30 years from now. I’ll be 60-70 years old. Will I still be alive? I hope so but perhaps not. I could stick my head in the sand now and say ‘nope, I’m not going to engage in this process because I don’t like John Key and I would rather the $26 million was spent on [insert any one of more than a thousand worthy causes that all need more like $200 million here]’. Or I could have my say now while I’ve got the chance rather than missing out altogether when the time really comes. Because even if the flag doesn’t change this time, some of the designs suggested in 2015 might well get taken seriously next time the issue comes up.

So I have had my say. I cannot claim much credit for my suggestion because all I did was take someone else’s and improve it somewhat (in my opinion). But it has had some quite encouraging airtime – first on Campbell Live…

John Campbell Enzo flag

…and then in the Herald…

Paper Enzo flag

Therefore, I thought with the “preliminary long list” of between 50 and 75 designs due out in just a couple of weeks, now might be a good time to try to make the case for my suggestion to be adopted.

The first thing you will notice about it is it’s black, white and red – the colours of the tino rangatiratanga flag, referencing the Maori legend of Rangi and Papa – earth and sky. It could just as easily be blue, white and red to retain a reference to Mother England – I wouldn’t die in a ditch over that but I think it looks much stronger and stands out better as is.

The fish hook is a reference to another well-known Maori legend – that of Māui fishing up the North Island. The fish hook is more generally a symbol of prosperity and safe passage. The fish hook also contains a koru design within it, a popular symbol for a new flag which carries themes of new life, growth, strength and peace.

The flag works as a tricolour, a flag such as France’s or Italy’s with equal portions of three different colours. In that sense it’s a different take on a somewhat traditional (albeit republican) flag. Having said that though, it would also stand out well amongst a group of flags at an event such as the Olympics or a World Cup.

But whether you like my flag or not, I do urge you to participate in the referendum if you support a change of flag. It’s time to grow up. In more ways than one.

Enzo flag flying

 

Enzo Giordani

For the soccer supporters amongst us Enzo runs the excellent In the back of the net blog.

169 comments on “Guest post: The flag – a change is gonna come”

  1. weizguy 1

    That flag is boss.

    Personally, I think we should resolve our constitutional mess first. I think a flag change should be part of us becoming a republic, but I suspect I’m in the minority.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      What “constitutional mess”?

      • weizguy 1.1.1

        We obviously have different takes on the value of heredity as a means of choosing a head of state.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          Using the word “mess” implies that it is somehow untidy or confusing.

          There’s nothing confusing or untidy about our constitutional system.

          Outdated, outmoded, old-fashioned, sub-par are all adjectives that are much more appropriate.

          • weizguy 1.1.1.1.1

            First of all, really? You thought it was worth your time to question whether my use of mess was “appropriate”?

            Secondly, If you don’t think a constitutional monarchy is confusing or untidy, we disagree.

            Thirdly, all the words you suggested describe part of the problem, but they fail to adequately synthesise my concerns. I think I’ll stick with “mess”, if you’ll allow me to use the vernacular.

            • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.1.1

              First of all, really? You thought it was worth your time to question whether my use of mess was “appropriate”?”

              No, I was confused as to why you used the term “mess”. Maybe there was something about our constitutional arrangement that is ‘messy’ that I wasn’t aware of. Turns out there isn’t, you were just using an inappropriate word. I found that out by questioning you.

              Secondly, If you don’t think a constitutional monarchy is confusing or untidy, we disagree.

              Clearly, but now I know that you have a weird definition of ‘mess’ and that’s why you described our situation like that.

              Thirdly, all the words you suggested describe part of the problem, but they fail to adequately synthesise my concerns. I think I’ll stick with “mess”, if you’ll allow me to use the vernacular.

              In this context, ‘mess’ is a completely vague and unhelpful description, so while it may “synthesise [your] concerns”, it completely fails to communicate those concerns to anyone else. Hence why I had to ask what you actually meant; and I still don’t know anything more than was obvious in your original comment, that you don’t like the monarchy for some unspecified reason.

              • weizguy

                I’ll leave you to your self-important pedantry.

                • I go with mess.
                  A patchwork constitution inherited from British colonisation which has stuck the Treaty onto it as an afterthought, thrown in a toothless Bill of Rights, giving us a Cabinet dictatorship on behalf of China and the US.
                  I would call that a real mess.
                  A suitable flag to represent that mess would be the Jack, the stars and stripes, the red star and a flock of sheep.
                  I could go for Enzo’s flag which I would interpret as Aotearoa emerging out of the black earth of empire and seeking rebirth in the red dawn.

  2. Sabine 2

    keep the mindset, but change the flag.

    Yeah……thats how its done.

  3. happynz 3

    This flag debate is like taking a meeting to decide which doughnuts should be ordered for the next meeting. A few individuals get really worked up about the frigging doughnuts, but most attending see the whole exercise as a colossal waste of time.

    • lprent 3.1

      Yeah. Problem is that the obsessives wind up imposing their idiotic debates on to everyone else. I’m going to campaign for not voting in the first referendum, and then voting for the status quo in the second.

      I couldn’t give a damn about any flag. Which means the current one is adequate. It just means that the childish obsession to have a flag will fade away faster through boredom.

      • Chooky 3.1.1

        +100…”not voting in the first referendum, and then voting for the status quo in the second”.

  4. Tracey 4

    i too would lime a new flag. i like your design.

    althought what i am about to write has opponents within Maori there are some who say that all those born in NZ are Maori.

    • “there are some who say that all those born in NZ are Maori.”

      but they aren’t, are they?

    • weka 4.2

      “there are some who say that all those born in NZ are Maori.”

      Do you mean indigenous? Māori is an ethnicity, so I can’t see how we could all be Māori.

      • Tracey 4.2.1

        like i said not all maoridom agree but there are those that state the term maori includes all who are ever born here.

        • weka 4.2.1.1

          who says that?

          • Tracey 4.2.1.1.1

            do you want all their names? as part of a series of staff workshops several maori spoke of the concept of being maori. a few stated they believed the definition extends to those born here. others said it can only be ascribed through whakapapa.

            • weka 4.2.1.1.1.1

              No, I don’t want their names, I wanted you to be clear who you were talking about. Thanks for clarifying that you meant Māori in a workshop setting.

              “a few stated they believed the definition extends to those born here”

              That doesn’t really tell us much about what they mean though. I’m guessing there is more to it than that. For instance do they still differentiate between iwi and tau iwi and Pākehā and non-Māori? How does their idea fit into the Treaty? How about Māori born overseas? How about Pākehā NZers born overseas etc.

              IMO it’s not a concept to be taken lightly.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2

        Māori is an ethnicity, so I can’t see how we could all be Māori.

        Enthinicity:

        Ethnicity is the ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to. Ethnicity is a measure of cultural affiliation, as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality or citizenship. Ethnicity is self perceived and people can belong to more than one ethnic group.

        You seem to be communicating as if Māori is a race when it isn’t.

        • weka 4.2.2.1

          There’s no such thing as race, so that’s obviously not what I was talking about. I disagree a bit with the quote in that ethnicity has a strong whakapapa component, but where I agree is that it’s also strongly cultural. Hence my questions to tracey about what she meant. I think most people in NZ would take the word Māori to mean a specific ethnicity that is based on bloodlines as well as culture. I doubt that there are many who would argue that ancestry has nothing to do with it.

  5. dukeofurl 5

    I like the design- as a design- at least we get away from those horrible stars and crosses hybrids.
    The problem is that the fishook as the central motif of the flag would become the defacto national emblem.

    The silver fern is on safer ground there. Even if the Aussies refer to the silver fern on black as the vegetarian pirate flag

  6. Brutus Iscariot 6

    6 bucks for every citizen in New Zealand is not an egregious waste of money for something so key to our identity and future. Maybe all those complaining about the cost can donate that amount to a charity or social service of their choice to compensate.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      6 bucks for every citizen in New Zealand is not an egregious waste of money for something so key to our identity and future.

      And yet for some strange reason all the RWNJs complained when the same amount was mooted to feed children.

      Maybe all those complaining about the cost can donate that amount to a charity or social service of their choice to compensate.

      The existence of charities is proof that the government is failing in its duty.

  7. Charles 7

    As a design, it’s striking, balanced, favourable to the eye anyway. As a symbol, it might have crossed lines that shouldn’t be crossed, not unless you’re Maori, or have created this symbol with legitimate support from Maori – whoever it concerns.

    Let me put it to you this way… If you were to design a flag using European heraldry/techniques/colours, that outlined a partnership between Pakeha and Maori, relevent to today (or some other message), how would that look using your process?

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      Heraldry has nothing to do with it, yes there are ‘flag rules’ but thats different.

      The idea that Maori have to be the ones to come up with the design is bizarre- they never used flags but had a rich tradition in carving.
      An old flag design that was used around the time of the treaty was a shipping company flag Shaw Savill.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          heh

        • Roflcopter 7.1.1.2

          These are all post euro settlers arriving, Duke is referring to before settlers arrived.

          • Molly 7.1.1.2.1

            I believe the use of the flag was adopted in response to settlement – yes.

            But Māori adaptation has been a part of it’s cultures growth and survival mechanism. They were traders both on land and sea, and adapted as they saw fit to accommodate the practices of those they were interacting with.

            If the Treaty had been signed in good faith by the Crown, they should have had input into our current flag. To my mind, the first NZ flag – the United Tribes flag was more representative of the Treaty than our current one.

          • maui 7.1.1.2.2

            It sort of sounds like you’re saying Maori culture post 1840 is irrelevant. You did know that what people see as the most recognisable Maori building, the meeting house, is a post european building.

            • dukeofurl 7.1.1.2.2.1

              But they did have buildings with carvings ?

              Flags didnt exist or even have a use in pre european era.

              • maui

                Geez, Maori culture doesn’t start and stop where and when you feel like it. They adopted, adapted and used flags widely and this makes sense with the amount of symbolism already in traditional Maori culture.

                A meeting house was vastly different to other Maori buildings, in terms of its function and influences (religion, steel tools, etc).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Geez, Maori culture doesn’t start and stop where and when you feel like it.

                  No, it shifts and grows which is why I get pissed off with people wanting to protect it because what they actually mean is that they want to keep it in a fixed state.

                  Anyway, the end result of this shifting and growing is that the end result will be that the culture of NZ will be Māori culture but the chances are it will only superficially resemble the Māori culture of 1840 NZ. It’s actually already happening with English culture slowly being subsumed.

            • weka 7.1.1.2.2.2

              “You did know that what people see as the most recognisable Maori building, the meeting house, is a post european building.”

              I didn’t know that maui, thanks.

          • dukeofurl 7.1.1.2.3

            Exactly.

            Notice how the flags DONT use any specific maori symbols.

            Crosses and stars , crescent moons or even bleeding hearts ( a religious symbol!) do not a maori flag make. Its the same things as us using a union jack.

            They have a deep cultural significance to their own symbols not ones borrowed from shipping companies, catholic orders, masonic lodge.

            • weka 7.1.1.2.3.1

              You believe that Matariki isn’t significant to Māori? Or the Southern Cross? Or the moon and sun? Or a waka? Rainbow? Waka full of people?

              Have you considered that the Kingitanga people might be having a flag that communicates something to non-Māori? For very good reasons?

              Your original point was that Māori didn’t use flags. But they did and they used the symbolism that was appropriate at the time. Why do you get to decide what was relevant to them then?

              • dukeofurl

                Its my opinion of course. But I dont see anyone claiming a tikanga for a flag like that. Let alone one with masonic emblems.

                “The seven stars represent Te Paki o Matariki (the Pleiades constellation), an important symbol for the Kīngitanga movement.”

                Are you saying the Kingitanga symbols apply for all Maori?

                It would be like instead of having a union jack in the current flag, back in 1902 they used a prussian egale. Didnt make cultural sense to anglo saxon colonial NZ.

                • weka

                  “Are you saying the Kingitanga symbols apply for all Maori?”

                  No, I’m saying that the people who made and used that flag get to say what it means and how relevant it is.

                  tbh, I don’t know what you are on about here. It seemed to start with a reaction against Charles’ comment, but I don’t think he said what you think he did. I thought he was saying if you are going to use Māori iconography then you need to talk with Māori to have any legitimacy. To me that’s a given. It’s also a given, because of Te Tiriti, that Māori should be part of the design process.

                  • dukeofurl

                    I was wrong.
                    There is some historical connections, mostly a range of symbols some with significance, but others just ‘what was around at the time’

                    As you pointed out I cant speak for maori and indeed they will have many voices too.
                    I suppose I didnt want some ‘fashionable cultural sysmbol’ to replace the union jack and only only after find that a fish hook , koru or generic stars etc weren’t culturally appropriate, and we are stuck with an emblem we dont want 25 years from now.

                    Lets just say Ive learnt quite a bit !

        • Molly 7.1.1.3

          And don’t forget that is it Te Kooti’s flag that Thomas Bracken was referencing in our national anthem – Guard Pacific’s triple star from the shafts of strife and war”.

          Sometimes I just love those Irish…

          • mac1 7.1.1.3.1

            Thanks for that reference, Molly, and the history and the meanings of both versions which it contains.

          • Bob 7.1.1.3.2

            Molly, that is possibly the most interesting and informative link I have ever seen posted, thank you for that!

  8. yabby 8

    The flag is an anachronism, looks Australian 🙂 , maintains the Union Jack (a potent symbol of colonialism and oppression) and does not reflect either our independence nor how we see ourselves. It’s beyond time that Kiwis pick a flag rather than rely on this relic to represent us. I’m not convinced of Enzo’s flag choice, though I like it, as I favour the fern/ Southern Cross combinations

    • Bob 8.1

      +1
      My pick is the Silver Fern/Southern Cross flag (top/center on the Herald image).
      The Silver Fern is only found in NZ and already a national symbol, and the Southern Cross represents our place in the world.
      I would however, prefer red, white and black (rather than blue), as the colours. This would represent the colours of the tino rangatiratanga flag while further distancing ties with Britain (who effectively did the same to us in 1972).

    • Hanswurst 8.2

      The Union Jack is an impotent symbol of colonialism and oppression, as well as many other things. A flag is mainly just a nicety for sporting events and an historic tool for territorial and military recognition. There are few things I could care less about than the national flag.

      Mr. Giordani’s design is very nice, but it really is of no interest to me whatsoever whether it gets adopted or not.

  9. Still.Haven’t.Fixed.It.

  10. RedLogix 10

    That’s a decent version I could live with. Personally Hudertwasser’s version still get’s my vote.

    The thing is; flags never fly flat like you see them when on a page in the design competition – you have to see them up, flapping in the breeze. And every Hurdertwasser flag I’ve seen flying looks beautiful, elegant – graceful even.

    http://yeswhangarei.co.nz/flag/

    http://yeswhangarei.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/manifesto.pdf

    Otherwise – yeah I was over the Union Jack thingy when I was a boy. That as nation we’ve proven incapable of doing making such an palpably self-evident statement of nationhood – speaks more to the stultification of our political life than any lack of decent design choices.

  11. I agree, Enzo. I’m grumpy about the money too, and I’m unhappy about the way it will become a legacy project for the current PM, but I surely don’t want to lose this chance to change our flag. I’m looking forward to having a chance to engage more closely with the designs.

    I like your design very much. I don’t have strong preferences around symbols, except that I’m generally in favour of the koru, the silver fern and the Southern Cross, and I’m generally not in favour of kiwis and the Union Jack. Your design has persuaded me to add Maui’s fishhook to my list of preferred symbols. Not that I want masses of symbols on the flag! Just one will do. But one of the koru, the silver fern and Maui’s fishhook, with maybe a Southern Cross in the corner. Maybe.

  12. What I don’t really get is why the tino rangatiratanga flag isn’t the best option – how is it offensive, it has a pedigree, a history – but that is a proud one. Does it need another symbol within it? To my mind no, it is perfect.

    • Molly 12.1

      I’m with you there…

      Brings to my mind the duality of NZ and Te Ao Māori:
      Tangata Whenua – Crown
      Rangi – Papatuanuku
      Land – Sea
      Male – Female
      Past – Future

      The white space represents the space between these things where interaction leads to light and beauty.

    • dukeofurl 12.2

      Those are all reasons why it WONT be chosen. Not really a significant history and its somebodys elses flag all ready. Just a small improvement from Union Jack

  13. DH 13

    I can’t understand why people fail to see how patronising and insulting this whole flag issue is. We have a Government who are pushing globalisation and flags are all about nationalism.

    National are busy dismantling the Nation-State and people lap up this flag bullshit like a pet dog wagging its tail over a treat.

    They’re sneering at us and people take it seriously?

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Which is precisely why so many on the left have been suspicious of this project from the start. The American’s call it ‘poisoning the well’.

      • DH 13.1.1

        Agreed.

        There’s only one viable logo for a National Party flag. An auctioneers mallet. Swap the stars for dollar signs and its done…. might add a cigar as a final flourish.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.2

        If Key can get 75% of the politically active righties and 50% of the politically active lefties to buy into the flag project, its a major win for him. People can’t help but be caught up in the grand symbolism even as their land and water is being sold out from under them.

  14. cogito 14

    Message to Enzo Giordani – in Italian. Quella bandiera fa schifo.

    Great design for a Maori cultural group, not as the national flag.

  15. Paul Campbell 15

    Yes, I like that one – first time I’ve said that

  16. freedom 16

    As an aside, I find it a bit odd how a PM who wants to remove the Union Jack from our flag, and speaks often about our future as a strong independent nation plants ‘leadership’ of our military forces on the shoulders of the very monarchy that the flag debate supposedly distances us from.

    Surely the titles could have remained with Prince Philip and the honorary positions be retired with Prince Philip’s eventual passing?
    Does the PM want NZ to be a strong independent nation or a loyal subject of the Empire?
    One thing is for certain, Key sure has a penchant for having boots in both camps.

    • happynz 16.1

      Key sure has a penchant for having boots in both camps.

      I’ve heard that in Afrikaans the term is soutpiel.

      Sout is salt and piel is penis. It comes from the idea that one has a foot in the UK and a foot in South Africa, thus the penis dangling in the Atlantic. In Key’s case it would be a foot in New Zealand and a foot on Wall Street with the penis getting wet off the coast of Maui.

      • NZJester 16.1.1

        I would of thought it was deep in Lake Taupo as he is really screwing over New Zealand.

    • cogito 16.2

      I agree. Proves that Key is not the right person to be pushing this issue. He simply lacks the required integrity.

      Personally I am totally against any change in the flag.

    • Colonial Viper 16.3

      Key would like to see NZ more aligned with the USA as it is one of the pre-eminent powers of the Pacific. The UK is all but over nowadays.

      • cogito 16.3.1

        Key is the one who is “all but over nowadays”. The UK will carry on for a long time to come.

      • Liberal Realist 16.3.2

        “Key would like to see NZ more aligned with the USA as it is one of the pre-eminent powers of the Pacific. The UK is all but over nowadays.”

        Yes but he waits for a abysmal Tory or Tory-lite policy to fail in the UK then proceeds to implement those policies in NZ.

        While I agree that Key is aligned (more like agent of) with the US he takes his policy direction from Cameron et al.

    • Grace Miller 16.4

      I’m against changing it for changing’s sake. Dunnokeyo wants it changed so it will be his legacy. Hubris and false pride, imo.

      And it’s not like we can’t change it. Ever. I’d prefer it to be revisited in a year that ISN’T a significant anniversary for those who fought and died for us under the current flag.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.5

      One thing is for certain, Key sure has a penchant for having boots in both camps.

      One is the distraction, the other is the boot heel. He leans mostly on the boot heel.

  17. greywarshark 17

    Does it make any difference. The choice we may be given will probably be chosen by Brownlee. That’s what happened with the design for an earthquake memorial in Christchurch, It should have been voted for by the people.

    I don’t care about any flag brought to us as a diversion by the Notional Party having the cheek to pretend that they care about the country and its people having a symbol. All they need for that is an upward pointing finger. Flags are useful for laying over the coffins of people that the government has decided to care about. So it is a very elitist artifact.

  18. Tigger 18

    I like your arguments. I like this design very much. I agree, the flag needs to change. But I come back to this question: do I trust this process enough to believe the will of the people will triumph?

    The answer is no.

    • Anne 18.1

      +100

      Stuff the flag! Its nothing but a vanity project for John Key and an engineered distraction from the serious issues that beset this country. Now is the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.

      It should come up for consideration when we are ready to change our sovereign landscape and [presumably] become a republic. That time has not yet arrived, but it is probably not far away.

      • Brutus Iscariot 18.1.1

        And it never will, if the small-minded attitude that “we can’t focus on more than one important issue at one time” rears its head.

        Although what i presume you mean is under a Labour government a change in flag would be OK?

        • weka 18.1.1.1

          Depends how Labour went about it and their reasons. I think you missed the point. It’s not that it’s National, and it’s not that we can’t focus on more than one thing at a time, it’s that the kaupapa is just wrong.

          Myself, I think the flag is important and Key being able to do this with the flag is highly symbolic of the way the country is being fucked over generally. That that symbolism will be cemented into a national iconography is something we should all be concerned about (except those people who believe that NZInc should be branded and run like a business).

        • Anne 18.1.1.2

          No. It does not mean that. I’m open about my support of the Labour Party but I’m on record here expressing strong criticism of Labour when it is warranted.

          The flag needs to be considered along with a change in sovereignty as well as debate on a proposed constitution. All these aspects have a bearing on a final decision and need to be decided together.

          By itself, the flag contributes nothing to society as a whole. There are lots more important issues to be resolved before we worry our heads over a flag.

    • freedom 18.2

      “do I trust this process enough to believe the will of the people will triumph?”
      Not even a little bit.

      Putting aside the National government’s decision to completely ignore the majority view of the cross-party advisory group that wanted a Yes/No vote in the first referendum. Stepping over the memories of the fallen that remind us how the centenary of tragedy is not really the best time to even have such a discussion about our nation’s identity, let’s look at the question of the referendum’s democratic integrity.

      I might be wrong, so happy to be corrected, but it is my understanding there is no ‘minimum return’ quorum set for validating the vote.
      If only 1% of the postal referendum responses actually get returned, it appears the referendum is still binding.

      Russell Norman thankfully raised this question in the House last week.

      As a matter of fact, when the first referendum comes along and you have got to pick between four different kinds of flags, if you do not want to change the flag, you are not likely to participate in that referendum. Is there a quorum? What is the quorum? Ten people could participate in this referendum. Is there any quorum for this thing, I ask the National Government members over there? What if 10 people vote in this referendum? What if the turnout is 20 percent? What if the turnout in that first referendum is 10 percent?

      Recall the media highlighting how democracy is a transient value when it comes to defining our national identity?
      Neither do I.

      The lack of a set quorum for the voting returns is almost as shameful as the way the voice of the public was disregarded during the submissions process. Again the MSM were woefully absent in their coverage of this debacle of a process.
      We heard the government tell us the public had their say, the MSM seemed to hear that bit.

      Jacqui Dean (National—Waitaki): I want to thank the select committee members from all sides of the House for their consideration in this New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill. We had a good process with good engagement by the public and enjoyed many submissions

      Was it really a good process Jacqui? Trevor Mallard had a few words to say on that, and not for the first time.
      ( his simple message was also dutifully ignored by the media)

      Jacqui Dean, Jono Naylor, Chris Bishop, Alfred Ngaro, and the Hon Louise Upston. They were the National Government members on this committee who decided that 747 people who had asked to be heard by the committee would be denied the right to be heard. Those members voted to give submitters 5 minutes to speak. Those were the members who gave the very few submitters whom they allowed to come to the committee 5 minutes to speak. To be fair, there was an exception. The New Zealand RSA—the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association—was allowed 10 minutes. The representatives of the returned soldiers—people who had fought under the flag—were allowed only 10 minutes before the committee to express the views of their tens of thousands of returned members.

      This Parliament has enough trouble with its public relations that when submitters to committees are treated in such a disgraceful manner by members of the National Government, who acted as if they knew everything and did not want to listen, this Parliament’s reputation will be diminished further. I want to say that Jacqui Dean, Chris Bishop, Jono Naylor, Alfred Ngaro, and Louise Upston were too damn lazy to sit the select committee during the 3 weeks of adjournment. They were too lazy to sit the select committee during the 3 weeks of adjournment, in order to hear the people who wanted to be heard. When that occurs and when 747 people who ask to be heard are not, then this Parliament’s reputation will be in tatters.

      Jacqui Dean has spoken on the submissions process before and her reasoning in deciding to reject the RSA members from speaking to their submissions was they had entered their views through a form submission and were thus assumed to all be saying the same thing. The crassly hypocritical thing there is the entire What do you stand for? campaign, being run by the government, is entirely based on form submissions. Those views are not only being listened to, they are being carefully raked over for quotable pr friendly comments to aide the drive for change.

      So democracy is put aside, the history of the flag that is up for change is deemed insignificant, and the only thing that matters to the government are the optics of the discussion. As long as the MSM continue to bray the right tune of course. I guess all we can do now is wait for the postie to deliver the ballot papers – and hope they don’t lose any!

      http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/51HansD_20150728_00000020/new-zealand-flag-referendums-bill-%E2%80%94-second-reading

      • Wayne 18.2.1

        freedom,

        Well, that is all very interesting, but frankly irrelevant.

        There are going to be two referenda on the flag, the first late this year, the second next year.

        Standardnistas need to work whether they are going to continue to criticize the process, and the fact that is occurring under a John Key led government, or whether they are actually going to constructively participate.

        Because, at least in my view, this is a once in generation opportunity. Look what happened with the Republican referendum in Australia in 1999, now 16 years ago. Does anyone seriously think they will have another referenda in the next few years, no matter who is the government. Australia will be lucky to have one this side of 2025.

        If the flag referenda fails this time, neither the next Labour led government, nor the National one after that will hold such a referenda. So that is likely around 18 to 21 years before the issue can come back on the political agenda.

        I would note that I do not sense any groundswell for a republic. We will almost certainly be a constitutional monarchy for the next 50 years. So tying a flag change till then probably puts the issue to beyond the lifetimes of many of the commenters on this site.

        • freedom 18.2.1.1

          “Well, that is all very interesting, but frankly irrelevant.”

          Wanting a fair and open democratic process is irrelevant? wow, just wow

          • Wayne 18.2.1.1.1

            Two referenda is “a fair and open democratic process.”

            • Anne 18.2.1.1.1.1

              Two referenda is “a fair and open democratic process.”

              The first referendum should be… a choice between the current flag and a new flag. If the majority wish to keep the current flag then the second referendum becomes null and void. If they choose to have a change then we get to take part in the decision as to what the change would look like.

              But no, Mr Vanity himself chooses to do it the other way around. We spend umpteen millions on a referendum over the design of a new flag before we have the referendum whether we want a new flag? That’s not a fair and open democratic process. It’s dumb. But we all know the truth. Mr Vanity and his mates are trying to manipulate the result and don’t care how many millions they waste to get the result they want.

            • freedom 18.2.1.1.1.2

              The democratic process also includes the stages leading up to the referendums. Pretty sure you already know that though!

              I realise it is inconvenient at times for politicians to bother with the pesky views of the voters when asking for submissions etc, but when a subject is as important and as impactful as changing the flag of our nation, you would think as informed an opinion as possible would be sought? But I guess holidays are holidays and who am I to suggest that people elected to office and given the responsibility of protecting the values of a free democracy should care about insignificant tasks like listening to submissions.

              If you are happy with the fact hundreds of returned servicemen who fought for our country were told their views are form submissions and likely to be all the same, so asking them to speak is unnecessary, then I guess you are satisfied that democracy was served.

            • Stuart Munro 18.2.1.1.1.3

              Gnats don’t understand democracy at all.

              You need assent. Strong-arming your frankly stupid ideas through isn’t democratic – and people who know that will oppose you until you start to behave appropriately.

              In your case that may be sometime after the lion lies down with the lamb or Whaleoil learns words like ‘ballet’ ‘deodorant’ ‘underwear’ or ‘excuse me’.

        • McFlock 18.2.1.2

          Oh no, people won’t live to see the flag changed unless we absotively change it now! The tragedy! /sarc

          It’s a flag. It changes absolutely nothing. It doesn’t make the government more representative, it doesn’t address quality of life or health, it does fuck all but sit on a pole.

          • Colonial Viper 18.2.1.2.1

            heh interesting choice of wording that

            unfortunately this is the level our elite leadership class thinks at for NZ nowadays

            trying to make the trivial seem grand

        • Crashcart 18.2.1.3

          Another prediction from the crystal ball of the man who was just last week telling us that we were wasting our time talking about TPP because it would be signed off by the end of the week.

          As to the actual point. I hate to admit it but this referendum will go ahead. It is John Key’s vanity project so that when he retires to Hawaii he can look back at the State of NZ and tell them he put in place our state flag.

          If there is no minimum number set for it to be a valid referendum then it is in your best interest to make your voice heard by participating. Yes if you don’t you will be able to bemoan the fact that there may have been a small turn out, but you will be doing it from the shadow of a flag to which you had no input.

        • b waghorn 18.2.1.4

          If say only 10% of eligible voters turn out for the referendum is it still valid for the government to push on with the flag change?

  19. NZJester 19

    We simply can not afford a flag change right now.
    The money wasted on the flag referendums are but a drop in the bucket of the overall costs that will be incurred by both the public and some businesses.
    You have too look at the money sucking sinkhole that will open up if a flag change is passed by the second referendum.
    All our public buildings and world wide embassies that fly the NZ flag will need new flags.
    All NZ flag shoulder patches on serving military personnel and NZ Navy ship flags will need to be changed.
    Government websites, videos and documentation that feature the NZ flag will need to be replaced or updated.
    Educational videos and textbooks featuring the flag will need to be replaced in schools.
    New drivers licenses issued to replace the ones sporting our current flag.
    The NZ coat of arms has our flag on it and would require an update and any documentation or other government thing baring the coat of arms will need to be replaced such as our passports.
    Expensive diplomatic negotiations and promotional videos will be needed to inform our trade partners and other countries including their people of a flag change, as well as the change in passports, drivers licenses and other govenment documentation. If they are not informed then NZ passengers could be turned away for holding a passport they do not recognized or be forbidden from driving a car overseas due to an unrecognized new NZ drivers license
    The cost of those changes alone will make the money spent on the referendums look like the tip of the iceberg.
    Then you need to look at the cost to any New Zealand tourist venture, business or company that might feature the NZ flag in or on their websites, packaging or promotional materiel. They will also need to spend a lot of money having it all changed.
    The tiny little small costs keep on adding up the more you look and I would not be surprised if it would cost billions rater than millions of dollars to change over the flag.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Sounds like a great Keynesian economic stimulus programme

      Chinese factories will enjoy making the new flags for us

      • greywarshark 19.1.1

        To make an efficiency measure on costs to the tourist business, the new flag and a change to NZ’s scungy untrue slogan 100% pure can be introduced at the same time. The slogan is adulterated same as the countryside, and the people who vote for Notional.

    • dukeofurl 19.2

      Thats true , flags for army navy airforce, police, customs etc.

  20. Blue Horseshoe 20

    First let’s have a discussion about the significance of the current flag, the what and who it represents. What obligations NZ as a nation has under the current flag, and any treaties / agreements / contracts the current flag is attached to, for which we may not be aware.

    Only once we are 100% clear on what the flag equates to in terms of ‘obligations and contracts’ should we be talking about flag change. Having this discussion in a silo is fodder for the simple minds.

    Some have used the words independence, which NZ most certainly has no such thing. Changing the flag will not suddenly achieve ‘independence’, but it could create an entirely new set of ‘contractual obligations’.

    Sabine @ 2 hit the nail on the head.

  21. Aaron 21

    I’ve always thought having the Union Jack sitting in the corner of our flag is beyond lame but have been fully turned off about the flag referendum because it’s being pushed by key as a distraction – and because his preferred flag looks like a corporate logo.

    It wasn’t until I started seeing designs in black, white and red that I got interested. If we don’t like a flag that gets confused with other flags then a design inspired by Maori forms and colour is surely the way to go. Flags like the one above couldn’t possibly come from anywhere but this land, plus if one of them were to win the referendum over Key’s favourite, that’s just a lucky bonus.

    Unfortunately there are still bigger issues to worry about in this country and I’m still finding it hard to get very excited.

    Also, given the direction the country is heading there’s bound to be a revolution where the neo liberals get pushed out to see on ice floats and I reckon that might be a more appropriate time to come up with a new flag.

  22. maui 22

    Nice design. The more options that come out, the more indecisive I feel about a choosing a flag. With everyone coming from different backgrounds and holding different values I’m not sure if we can come together under one flag. Flags are seen as either too colonial, too Maori, too corporate by whoever. That’s why I’m sticking with the current one by default, it’s the only one the majority of people can agree on.

    • dukeofurl 22.1

      WE dont know that a majority will chose the current one over a new design.

      • freedom 22.1.1

        Under the appointed referendum process there is no minimum vote required for the referendum result to be binding. Compound this with postal ballots generally returning lower numbers than referendum carried out during a general election and we face the scenario where a minority of eligible voters will likely decide this issue.

        • gobsmacked 22.1.1.1

          Freedom (and Russel Norman) nailed it. The most serious issue is not the cost or the irrelevance, it’s the dangerous – and very real – prospect of a decision based on a very low turnout. A decision that is binding.

          The cynical opportunist in me says this could really hurt Key: “Here’s your new flag, whether you like it or not, 20% wanted it, and I’m backing them, not the rest of you. Binding means binding, so there.” There would be a mass revolt, across the political spectrum. Opposition united, yay!

          The more principled position is: I’ll vote, not because I want the referendum now, but simply because it’s there. I expect I’ll vote for a change, but of course we don’t yet know what to.

          Also … Enzo’s blog is excellent.

          • Stuart Munro 22.1.1.1.1

            I’m betting Key’s flag will burn. Kiwis don’t usually hack up politicians – but flagpoles or flags are a different story. Fair game.

      • cogito 22.1.2

        I suspect that the majority won’t even vote. Then what will happen? Are any safeguards being put in place so that a change doesn’t get pushed through on the basis of eg a 1% majority on a turnout of 22%?

      • maui 22.1.3

        The large majority of polls over the last couple of years are against a flag change. That’s before you even get to the question of would you prefer “this” flag over the current, which would be an almost insurmountable task for a newcomer to knock off the incumbent.

  23. McFlock 23

    Nice flag. But there are lots of nice flag designs – even our current one.

    And, frankly, the union jack top left is just as representative of NZ as a fish hook – until we replace our head of state.

    Not so much “former” in the “former colonial masters”. Maybe not “colonial” either, but still, firmly, “masters”.

    • dukeofurl 23.1

      That could be next. But no reason not to change the flag as Canada did

      • McFlock 23.1.1

        If the motivation is to have a flag that represents NZ, I think it is because it already does.

        If anything, “out of sight, out of mind” seems appropriate. Change the country, then we have a reason to change the flag.

  24. Tanz 24

    It;s really about the progressives, as usual, wanting to crush, deny and change our British/colonial/Christian past. The left is never proud of our history, just wants to basically rub it out. New Zealand has a wonderful history, but the left never ever wants to be proud of that. The left basically paints our Colonial past and heritage as though it were a portal from underneath. So wrong.

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      I like the bit of NZ history where huge farm holdings were broken up and distributed to ordinary working people.

      • mac1 24.1.1

        Yep. Two of my mother’s uncles and her father got land that way, from the Kinloch estate. Done with the effects of a Land Tax. The architect of that Liberal Government’s policy, John “Jock” McKenzie, was so loved and remembered by the people of North Canterbury, itself the site of another broken up big estate owned by ‘Ready Money’ Robinson, that later they named the town now known as Cheviot after him. 400 individual settlers and families moved onto the land sold by Robinson.

        • b waghorn 24.1.1.1

          That what landcorp should be about , getting citizens of nz who want farm a shot at going it alone .they could be buying up the big farms and cutting them into economic blocks , even if they went into a 20/30 year lease system it would be a winner I think.

    • Charles 24.2

      Oh wow, a visitor from 1830. Hello! How is life back there?

    • swordfish 24.3

      I’m more than proud of the early Socialists and Red Feds and Independent Labour Party and SDP and the way the NZLP overcame chronic electoral stagnation through the 1920s to become the Country’s leading political force by 1935.

  25. rhinocrates 25

    Key should like it – if you squint, it looks like a ponytail.

  26. Sanctuary 26

    That flag looks like the in-house logo for a fishing company.

  27. Sabine 27

    Nah…..its all good, look lets buy a new flag….a new currency….its all good.
    WE have no poverty, and those that are poor have no lobby, we have no lack of houses, and those without houses have no lobby, we have no hungry kids, and those hungry kids we have have no lobby…..

    lets create Dames and Sirs, and make English princes high military ranks, cause hey some imperialistic colonial shit is just too good to get rid of.

    Be a Dame, be a Sir, vote for a new flag.

  28. Sanctuary 28

    A flag designed with everyone in mind is like a horse designed by a committee, AKA a camel. The flag shown here is uninspiring rubbish, because it is namby pamby attempt to be a little bit of something for everyone except for those that it doesn’t – to me that makes it a symbol of division, not unity. I read somewhere the Austrian flag is red-white-red because it represents the catholic banner (white) dipped either end in the blood of dead Turks in order to rally catholic troops – now, that is an origin myth for a flag!

    To me, if you actually care about your flag then it is not an exercise in branding, a logo for our times. Flags are about emotion, and unity, and patriotism. The flag above looks like something NZ Rail would hoist over an inter-island ferry, or an Iwi over their fishing trawler, not something that would send the heart soaring when you anxiously finally spied it gallantly streaming through the rocket’s red glare .

    I guess if had to chose it can only be the silver fern on the black banner. Why? Because the flag is striking, is bold and it has no component parts. It is a singular statement that says just one thing: Here be the New Zealanders.

  29. swordfish 29

    While I personally prefer an eventual change of flag (as someone who almost chose graphic design as a career, I’d be quite interested in developing a few designs myself), now is not the right time.

    The weight of polling evidence over the last few years suggests consistent majorities (sometimes large majorities) or pluralities are explicitly opposed to a change. Essentially a widespread mix of outright opposition and apathy. So the issue is basically being foisted on to an unwilling public and at breakneck speed, all as some sort of vanity project / grand political legacy for our esteemed PM.

    And I don’t think there’s necessarily any inevitability about change in the future. Despite widespread assumptions to the contrary (fists regularly being angrily shaken at a supposedly reactionary RSA generation), Poll Age Breakdowns actually suggest that younger New Zealanders are expressing greatest opposition.

    RECENT POLLS ON THE ISSUE

    Herald DigiPoll April 2015
    Time for a New Flag ?
    Yes 25%
    No 70%
    Undecided 5%
    (80% agreed that the first Referenda should ask the public if it wants a change in the first place, rather than asking it to rank/choose between shortlisted designs and then moving on to a decisive second referenda as planned)

    Research New Zealand October 2014
    Adopt a New National Flag ?
    Yes 19%
    Neutral 37%
    No 43%

    Herald DigiPoll March 2014
    Support New Flag 41%
    Keep Current Flag 53%
    Undecided 7%

    Research New Zealand March 2014
    Adopt a New National Flag ?
    Yes 18%
    Neutral 43%
    No 37%

    Research New Zealand February 2014
    Adopt a New National Flag ?
    Yes 22%
    Neutral 39%
    No 37%

    One News Colmar Brunton February 2014
    Design a New Flag 28%
    Keep the Current One 72%
    (Only 2% thought changing the flag was an important issue)

    Fairfax Media-Ipsos February 2014
    Yes, Change to Silver Fern 18%
    Yes, Change, but to something else 24%
    (Total Yes 42%)
    Not bothered either way 19%
    No, We should not change 39%

    Research New Zealand August 2011
    Adopt a New National Flag ?
    Yes 19%
    Neutral 30%
    No 52%

  30. roy cartland 30

    That IS a cool flag. Not a throwback, good symbolism, not a sport-icon rip-off, has some actual curves rather than the awful geometry sometimes proposed… the koru of nature and the fishhook of legend and it won’t date like that awful silver fern corporate logo.

    You’ve done it. I was just about to give up, but this is (as has been stated earlier) ‘boss’.

  31. Adrian 31

    The flag result is going to be interesting as I see it as a true poll of how the populace judge Key’s actual estimation in the their eyes. I think at the moment Key is seen as the antithesis of ” the other side “.
    The last important one of these we had was Winstons superannuation scheme and while a majority thought it was needed it went down like a cup of cold sick because it became a way the give him a good kicking because of his posturing over who he would go with around that time.

  32. Observer (Tokoroa) 32

    Enzio

    I do not wish to knock your design. Or your reasons for drawing it.

    However it will be seen as a bent trombone in countries outside of New Zealand. The fish hook is simply too abstract. But it will make lots of rightful sense to Maoridom.

    More importantly, New Zealand consists of many backgrounds and ethnicities. All of them at some stage immigrants. All of them contribute one way or another to the success of New Zealand. Nearly all of us like to play fairly.

    So for that reason I would vote for the Silver Fern. It is not abstract. It is Beautiful. It does not have a bias towards any ethnicity. It draws its authority from its own grace. Not from past or present dictators and bumbling politicians.

  33. freedom 33

    To be clear, I am not setting out to be deliberately negative here. I do not hate the flag idea presented in this post. It is definitely superior to the Kyle Lockwood mess that is being so heavily promoted. I simply need to point out what I consider to be a very real hazard in the design. Out of the thousands of designs I have viewed I consider Enzo’s design to be a strong contender. I would not be surprised if it makes the short list of candidates to be considered by the panel. ( I have no links to those on the selection panel, my comment is pure conjecture based on the images so far presented to the public)

    But, and it is a big but, when you consider the multitude of representations that a flag undergoes the unfortunate allusion to the Vodafone logo is difficult to ignore. Flags are not solely things atop flagpoles. They are adapted and adopted for all sorts of uses and their presentation comes in all shapes and sizes. The variant scales of presentation play a big part in the image recognition sought by such an object.

    Flags get used in so many ways – t-shirts, posters, cups, key-rings. Flags are not always presented as a complete image. Be it lapel badges or stadium banners, the quality of the brand recognition must be unquestionable. Here in Aotearoa the numerous differences between Enzo’s design and the aforementioned commercial brand are obvious and very well understood. On an international stage however, it is not a stretch to think many people would mistake the design for the Vodafone logo. Especially when emblazoned on low quality merchandising.

    (I have tried various colour combinations, but they do little to alter the problematic brand association of the core design elements)

  34. Draco T Bastard 34

    The current flag references our former colonial masters and the heritage of our European ancestors, but it does not reference, in any adequate way, our indigenous people who were here before the rest of us and are precisely one half of our Treaty partnership.

    True but that is why, IMO, that it shouldn’t be changed until we become a republic so that the change in the flag represents the change in our political system and our politics.

  35. Michael 35

    One big issue that makes the process hard to support is that the referendum isn’t very authentic. The first referendum is to pick a new flag – it doesn’t ask if people want to keep the old one. then in the second you choose between the new and the old one. It’s basically just designed to give National a false mandate to change the flag to leave a legacy for John Key. I’m not opposed to having a conversation about the flag – but now is not the time, and the process is flawed. Do it 10 years from now, have a simpler and less political referendum process that doesn’t try to get a yes or no vote, and then I think more progressives would support it.

  36. Enzo Giordani 36

    Just a quick note to say I’m reading all the comments and really enjoying the debate! It’s a lot more positive than I thought it was going to be. Rather than reply to comments individually I’ll probably do some kind of ‘address in reply’ type post on my own blog later on tonight.

    Thanks and thanks also to The Standard for allowing me to get my suggestion out there to a wider audience.

    • dukeofurl 36.1

      Thanks Enzo. Ive learnt quite a lot too.

    • Sanctuary 36.2

      PS I wasn’t have been so rude about your design, I come from a family of ten and you have to be robust to be heard.

      • swordfish 36.2.1

        Speaking of effective graphic design…..Sanc, your Gravatar / Identicon for comments 26 and 28 is a bold and brilliant piece of design (In fact, I’m now suffering from an extreme case of Gravatar-envy). Much more impressive than the (usual) one your using here at comment 36.2. Have you thought of sticking to the other email address ?

        • Colonial Viper 36.2.1.1

          lol…maybe you should double check your inclinations…looks a bit akin to the, ahem, third German realm

          • swordfish 36.2.1.1.1

            Ha ! Yeah, I noticed the reverse-swastika. But let’s remember it’s also a sacred symbol for Hinduism and Buddhism.

            All depends which way you look at it (think Rubin’s Goblet in Gestalt psychology). Focus on Sanc’s Identicon as a purple square with little white rectangles protruding (rather than as a swastika) and you’ll see what I mean. Brilliant piece of graphic design.

            And on top of all that, Herr Hitler was, of course, right. Marvellous bloke, gifted raconteur, first-class After-Dinner-Speaker, whimsical moustache.

        • Sanctuary 36.2.1.2

          Goodness me!

    • cogito 36.3

      Ciao Enzo! Un grande saluto da un altro (mezzo) italiano. Avanti popolo…. bandiera rossa ecc ecc !

      Apologies to other readers! Just saying hi in Italian 🙂

  37. Olwyn 37

    I might be tempted to vote for the United Tribes flag if it was in the ballot. It is the flag I would actually miss if I left NZ, and the flag that always lets me know precisely where the start of a march or demo is if I am unclear about it – I look in the general direction, see a United Tribes flag, and think, “Ah, it must be over there.”

  38. lprent 38

    In my view, a flag is completely meaningless. Beloved of sport crazed madmen (umm gitso) and a few women, it appears to substitute for intelligent thought. You only have to look at all of the dumbarse lunatic armchair patriots outside of the armed forces to see that.

    Like John Key, they are too gutless or lazy to train, but they surely like to wrap themselves in a flag. It isn’t something that I ever observed inside the army. But I guess that being a safe distance and being in a position to order other peoples kids into battle makes lunatic patriotism easier.

    I wrote about these views here. “On the flag – lets not have one

    As for the union jack – who really gives a damn? The various families that make up my genealogy, as mapped by those becoming retired grandparents who seem to get obsessed by the subject, generally arrived here before the 1860s. Some came even earlier in the canoes, others with the whalers in the 1820s and 1830s. Some came from union jack territory – mainly escaping from it.

    We literally have no feeling for our flag, or the union jack on it. Just as we have no feelings for the pile of junk that gitso is proposing or any of the others. Flags are a pile of meaningless crap.

    Flags are something that recent immigrants like gitso want to impose on us. He should look further out than his own limited lifetime, and learn that his grandkids will grow in the kiwi way – they completely ignore flags. Unless they want to dressup for the rugby, netball or soccer, and then they usually pick their own “flag”

    That is maturity…

    Here is my personal choice for a flag if I was forced to have my own – nice and simple with a very clear message…

    • Anne 38.1

      He says it how I would love to say it but don’t know how. 😀 THANKS.

      Btw, my time working on an Air Force base gave me a similar impression. Take away the brass and the average service people don’t give a damm about the flag. They have to salute the thing and that’s the end of it.

  39. Vaughan Little 39

    the union jack is a reminder of where most of us are from. so there’s that.

    also, it speaks to where our main language is from. plus the origin of our legal and parliamentary systems…

    colonialism. I’d never want to forget about it. “let’s get rid of the symbol of oppression”. I’d prefer it to be kept in a prominent place. and if all you see in the symbol is oppression, I recommend you get new goggles.

    • cogito 39.1

      “the union jack is a reminder of where most of us are from. so there’s that.

      also, it speaks to where our main language is from. plus the origin of our legal and parliamentary systems… ”

      And of many of our customs. I can hear my son playing the bagpipes as I write this. Heritage and identity are important.

      • mac1 39.1.1

        Aye, cogito, but whose bagpipes? There are many varieties in the world. I’ve seen and heard a set of duda from Hungary which was made from a whole dog skin with twin chanters, I’ve heard pipes from Scotland (two types), Northumbria, the Uilleann pipes from Ireland, biniou in Britanny, English pastoral pipes. Wikipedia shows photos of 25 types of bagpipes, from Europe, Middle East, northern Africa, the Caucasus. I’m told there are far more.

        More than just from a Scottish heritage- though, as a boy I’d bike a mile to hear the great pipes played. One of the great instruments of humanity are the bag pipes, solving the problem of how to keep a tune going without stopping for breath. Perhaps a bit like some commenters, here? 🙂

        • cogito 39.1.1.1

          LOL.

          The thing about the pipes is the pride they instil into anyone who plays them, the great repertoire of tunes that go with them, the sense of identity, the marching together, all those things that make you stand tall and proud of who you are. Too often people these days are ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Our British heritage has value, and we should cherish it.

          • mac1 39.1.1.1.1

            Aye, again, Cogito. But again, whose bagpipes? Part of me is Scottish, and loves both the small pipes and the great pipes, though I’d be loath to march to war to them. Part is English and understands the ‘British’ bit, but half of me is Irish and knows no lovelier instrument than the uilleann pipes, but has little desire for being labelled ‘British”.

            I was taught by an Irish nun, a wonderful woman, and I was kidding her about some Plantation Scot-Irish history; she stopped me and said, “There’s some things we don’t joke about.”

            One eighth of my ancestry I don’t know about. That part tells me that maybe the British, Union Jack, Western civilisation, for good and bad, part is not necessarily represented by the Union Jack in our flag.

            That’s why I gently challenge, with great respect for piping music in general and the Great Pipes in particular, your assumption that bag pipes refers to Scottish bag pipes, just as I again gently challenge any assumption that New Zealanders might necessarily be British in origin or care much for that.

            • Molly 39.1.1.1.1.1

              “That’s why I gently challenge, with great respect for piping music in general and the Great Pipes in particular, your assumption that bag pipes refers to Scottish bag pipes, just as I again gently challenge any assumption that New Zealanders might necessarily be British in origin or care much for that.”
              Gracefully written.

            • cogito 39.1.1.1.1.2

              “I again gently challenge any assumption that New Zealanders might necessarily be British in origin or care much for that.”

              Some are British in origin and care about that. Others are not and do not care. Others are apathetic about whatever goes on around them. Others just lick the backsides of their political masters.

              Personally, I find the current flag debate (or what masquerades as such) as a political distraction by a PM who is corrupt to the core. He was happy enough to enjoy the hospitality of the Royal family at Balmoral together with his wife and kids, but then embarks on a campaign to remove the union jack from the flag. He is a hypocrite, a liar, and a fake.

              If the flag issue was being put before the people of NZ in an impartial, properly democratic and respectful manner I would be open and supportive, but what we have is a sham led by a habitual liar and deceiver who is trying to secure his place in NZ history. Play into his hands if you wish, but I most definitely will not, irrespective of any technicalities over the origins of bagpipes 🙂

  40. Ant 40

    “Former NZ prime minister appointed head of UN”
    “New Zealand leads the way in greenhouse gas reduction.”
    “Child poverty eliminated in tiny Pacific nation.”
    “New Zealand achieves potable water in 89% of its rivers.”
    “New Zealand a Republic; sheds colonial past”

    Any of these scenarios (and many others) would warrant the unfurling of a new flag with pride and have the world take notice.

    But generating a new flag for the sake of a new flag? A vacuous act of boredom unlikely to raise an international eyebrow anywhere or fill us with pride.

  41. barry 41

    Well said Enzo,

    It doesn’t make sense to push for something then oppose it when it is offered. It seems that Little is miffed because he wished he could have done it.

    Sure it will be Key’s legacy. Given all the other crap he will be remembered for, it seems cheap if that is the price for getting rid of him.

    I favour a design with black and green and a diagonal silver (white) fern. However I could see myself voting for your flag if the panel doesn’t pick the better options. It would certainly be a huge improvement on the current monstrosity.

  42. Enzo Giordani 42

    Here is my response to the comments above FWIW.

    http://in-the-back-of-the.net/2015/08/04/address-in-reply/

    Thanks again.

  43. Coffee Connoisseur 44

    Enzo I personally think you have done a stellar job. I grew up with a healthy dose of Maori culture as a young pakeha. It is a truly beautiful culture and I think your flag not only captures it most beautifully. I feel more connection with your flag than I do our current one.
    I love the story behind it, the way that it incorporates maori legends and the symbolism that comes with the fishook and the koru
    Like many I was not a fan of changing. But if I have the opportunity to change it to that, then I will make the most of that opportunity when the time comes.
    Thankyou.

    I’d be a proud kiwi standing under that and belting out ‘slice of heaven’ for the national Anthem.
    It might even be the starting point for rebuilding what was once a very proud nation.
    Well done and best of luck.

  44. Blue 45

    I want the flag to change so that everyone will finally shut up about it.

    Don’t care what it is, as long as we have a flag and I no longer have to suffer the endless boring angst about whether to change it and which design to have, and what that design represents and everyone and their dog complaining that it doesn’t represent such and such enough and why their favoured design is better etc. etc.

    Next!

    • cogito 45.1

      So you want Key to get his way so you can have an easy life. Can’t get much lower than that.

  45. Northsider 46

    First priority is to become a Republic. Then the flag and anthem will be changed in that process.

  46. Chooky 47

    It is an ugly self PR flag with a great big FISH HOOK in the middle….jonkey and foreign corporate take over…and foreign ownership of New Zealand and its assets

    The old flag represents the ANZACS, the Treaty of Waitangi the founding law of New Zealand, which Maori Chiefs around New Zealand signed together with the British crown and government.( My ancestor signed this and an Aborigine leader i talked to was very envious of this Treaty)

    ..It also depicts the Southern Cross ( the old Maori navigators sailed by this)…beautiful mid-night skies and all the creative potential and dreams NZers have in a democratic and lawful and egalitarian society

  47. 1. As many others here, I feel like the flag change is way down the list of things that are overdue for change in NZ. It’s on there, but way down.

    2. I remember years ago in a big company, a contest was run to name our big new product. Many of us got really excited and proposed some really ingenious names, imagining we might have some impact. In the end, it proved to be a feel-good exercise, as we were all thanked but the name chosen was no more interesting than any conservative marketer would have proposed – no contest and no imagination required. I expect the same to happen here.

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