Entering the NZ Flag Debate

maori flag

Maori flag should form the basis for any replacement NZ flag

Why all the fuss about adopting a ‘new’ flag for New Zealand when there’s already a perfectly acceptable existing flag that serves as a good alternative to the present Union Flag/Southern Cross mash-up?

The Maori flag is there NZ, use it. Don’t fix what ain’t broken with Key’s referendum , just add the S’ Cross and bob’s your uncle.

Or is the Maori culture and heritage of New Zealand something that is trotted out just for World Cup rugby fixtures…


The Maori haka is good enough to represent NZ, but not their flag?

and State visits, and then conveniently forgotten about when the world isn’t looking?

Good enough for official visits but not for the flag?

Good enough for official visits but not for the flag?

Time for some real commitment, NZ…Silver Fern <cough>. Really? Don’t you think that’s just a tad ‘white’?

14 thoughts on “Entering the NZ Flag Debate

  1. Concerning this flag nonsense, I was just walking past the TV in the living room and saw the latest flag advertisement. It made me sick to my stomach, claiming it was about ‘what makes NZ special’, and ‘have your say’.

    As you well know, our say doesn’t mean jack shit anymore. No one wants it and that money should be spent where it’s actually needed, like on child poverty. What really really made me rage though, is that comment about NZ being special. The arrogance. I can tell you what makes NZ ‘special’. Child murder. Protecting criminals. Promiscuity. GETTING PISSED BRO! The list goes on and on.

  2. There seems to be no overall desire from New Zealanders to alter their flag, yet this is something that has been on John Key’s agenda since the day he quickly scrawled a silver fern on a piece of paper and put his name to it. Looks like the man wants to leave this as his legacy to his country.

    MyCollarisblue makes a good point about people having fought and died under the present flag, it is disrepectful to them to want to change it. And, Clint’s observation about branding and sports team is very valid too. A country’s flag should never be reduced to the status of a brand image. As we know, brands are too easily damaged and subject to parodies and ridicule (e.g. 100% pure NZ being likened to McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin it’).

    One of the biggest problems with Key’s concept is that the flag’s field is likely to be black (a nod to the country’s rugby heritage and passport design) funereal black seems incongruous for ‘the youngest country on earth’ – one that is predominantly green and verdant and whose shores are washed by the Pacific Ocean.

    You may find this interesting “Black is the new white, England’s rugby shirt a challenge?

    You may also like:

    12 Recipes From the Nation Branding Cookbook

    10) Visuals.
    “In order to help build an image, a country needs to be coherent in its visuals: from the flag to the colors of the sports teams, from stamps to banknotes, from passports to road signs. A country should find and keep a consistent look & feel in shapes, color schemes and typographies. Identify a national visual identity and color palette and dress with it. Almost always.”

    Only The All Blacks Can Wear Black With Pride?: John Key carelessly snubs other NZ national sporting teams

    • New Zealand has far more pressing issues to address than the colours of its flag. My suspicion is that John Key has brought out this irrelevant political topic to deflect attention from real issues. After all, if the dimwits in New Zealand are debating the flag, then they are not talking about the EQC debacle, out of control government spending, the brain drain, and the chronic waste and mismanagement in the New Zealand government.

        • New Zealand does have a history of hiding significant political changes by diverting attention with a policy change that is deliberately controversial and going to get attention. A classic example of this is the changes in parental rights and guardianship laws that took place at the same time as the “anti-smacking” bill.

  3. I’d prefer to keep it as it is. it’s not as similar to Australia’s as people claim (at least, I don’t think it is) but at the same time having a common shared theme surely also represents the ANZAC spirit – which seems to be seriously lacking in some circles.
    Our friends, Whanau and countrymen and women have died for that flag. Died bravely and with mana.
    To change the flag would be to turn our collective backs on history, sacrifice and honour.

    • @MyCollarIsB

      The so-called “Anzac spirit” is often invoked by New Zealanders, I doubt that it was ever as significant as Kiwis claim. As far as I understand, New Zealanders resisted combining with Australian forces during WW1 and most of New Zealand’s armed forces were in Europe during WW2, not the Pacific, so much for the “ANZAC spirit”. It seems to have appeared after Mother England dumped NZ in the early 70s.


      Didn’t the Key government reintroduce British Imperial honours and now the NZ PM wants to get rid of the Union flag, strange, a black flag is also regarded as a call to arms in many societies.
      Has he really given the issue much consideration?

      • Key probably had one eye on his own knighthood when he re-introduced the honours system. It’s been rumoured to be a long-term personal ambition of his. No doubt a title would sit very nicely alongside all his millions. Not bad for a state housing boy from Bryndwr.

        • Yes, knighthoods were a long term ambition of conservative politicians here in Australia as well, some rather sleazy state politicians received knighthoods, so many in fact, that the “honour” was somewhat tarnished.

          One of the criticisms of the Imperial honours system was that knighthoods were awarded to people for simply doing their jobs, or to the most successful conservative politicians. The very few Labor politicians who accepted Imperial honours were considered traitors.

          I’m sure that many conservative politicians here would welcome the return of the old system, whether the voters would is another question.

      • Even Kiwis don’t have any ANZAC spirit, Russel. Read the blogs about the boycott farce if you haven’t already. Kiwis have a deep seated resentment of Aussies and it’s really quite pathetic and petty.
        Going back to the flag though it represents our history, both good and bad. changing it would be wrong IMO.

        • “..it represents our history, both good and bad. changing it would be wrong IMO.”

          Most Australians can’t see any reason to change our flag either, for those reasons, I’d like to get rid of the Union flag in the corner, but that’s a minority opinion.

          “Kiwis have a deep seated resentment of Aussies and it’s really quite pathetic and petty.”

          I changed my mind about migration to NZ because of Kiwi Oz bashing.

  4. Amen to that. I wholeheartedly agree. I’m sorry, but I don’t want our national symbol to be that firmly associated with our sports teams. The choice of the silver fern would effectively narrow the discourse around national identity to only the images associated with what has become an over-exploited and over-commercialised range of activities. But some people like the idea, “brand” New Zealand they’re thinking. How superficial.

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