New Zealand Considers A New Flag

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Chris Green
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New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Chris Green » 10 Aug 2015, 19:40

The NZ Government is intending to hold a referendum to decide whether to replace the present flag. Here are the 40 designs in the "long list":

https://www.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Flags/The-long-list.pdf

Waves ferns and stars seem to predominate. No kiwis that I can spot. Here is the link to the page that explains the process that leads to a head-to-head competition with the present flag:

https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/the-nz-flag-your-chance-to-decide/open-letter

I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with the Panel's claim that "a great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory". That would immediately rule out such striking and immediately recognisable flags as the Union Flag, the flags of Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and dozens of others, probably even the US flag. Looking at the "long list" one is immediately struck by the fact that with few exceptions the Panel has in fact rejected its own claim.
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Arthur Radburn
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Arthur Radburn » 10 Aug 2015, 22:16

Chris Green wrote:The NZ Government is intending to hold a referendum to decide whether to replace the present flag. Here are the 40 designs in the "long list":

https://www.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Flags/The-long-list.pdf
Thank you for posting this, Chris. There are some very nice designs among them -- I rather like the 'Curly Koru' (row 1 flag 3), and the 'Silver Fern' design in its various colour combinations. However, to my (non-New Zealand) mind, none of the 40 seems appropriate as a national flag.
I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with the Panel's claim that "a great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory". That would immediately rule out such striking and immediately recognisable flags as the Union Flag, the flags of Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and dozens of others, probably even the US flag. Looking at the "long list" one is immediately struck by the fact that with few exceptions the Panel has in fact rejected its own claim.
Indeed -- unlike a coat of arms, replicating a flag design does not allow for much artistic licence, and some of these designs would need a French curve or other mathematical instruments to reproduce accurately. Drawing up a blazon and a flag construction sheet for most of them would be quite difficult.

Interesting that the New Zealand herald of Arms is not on the panel. As the governor-general's heraldic advisor, and local representative of the College of Arms, perhaps he will be one of the final arbiters.
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Iain Boyd
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Iain Boyd » 10 Aug 2015, 23:42

I am not very impressed with the long selection - 40 designs out of the thousands submitted.

I am in favour of a new flag, but, there is almost nothing here that I consider would make a great national flag - too many curves!

In my opinion, the South African flag is splendid (as long as one ignores the colour symbolism).

I may have to vote for the status quo - which, I suspect, many others will now do.

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Ton de Witte
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Ton de Witte » 11 Aug 2015, 08:08

I rather like the black with white fern option, simple design, recognizable,
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Arthur Radburn » 11 Aug 2015, 10:49

Iain Boyd wrote:In my opinion, the South African flag is splendid (as long as one ignores the colour symbolism).
Indeed -- the flag has been tremendously popular since its inception 21 years ago as a "temporary" flag.

Interestingly, there is no official colour symbolism. The State Herald, Fred Brownell, who designed the flag, has written that he deliberately avoided attaching meanings to any of the colours. The government's website too states that "no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colours".
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Michael F. McCartney
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 11 Aug 2015, 16:18

But there is symbolism in the SA flag -- just not the red is for the blood of the martyrs etc nonsense. Brownell included the colors of all (or at least the most important) of the historical flags flown in SA. That, and the pattern in which they are arranged, symbolizess the flowing of diverse traditions into a new national identity - a powerful symbolism!
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 11 Aug 2015, 16:51

But there is symbolism in the SA flag -- just not the red is for the blood of the martyrs etc nonsense. Brownell included the colors of all (or at least the most important) of the historical flags flown in SA. That, and the pattern in which they are arranged, symbolizess the flowing of diverse traditions into a new national identity - a powerful symbolism!

As to the "great flag" criteria -- I think it's spot on! It's not necessary that a kid can reproduce a precise duplicate of the official specification, only a kid's version -- heraldic license on steroids ;) -- which fosters an early identification with and love for their nation and it's new emblem. A flag so simple that a kid can precisely draw it is likely to be too simple to signify anything much and, frankly, boring.

Not that my vote counts, but mP severa of the fern or fern and stars patterns are quite nice. IMO the fimbrated stars should be larger to better fill the space. I can picture a kid's rendition of these patterns -- cartoonist but recognizable, meeting the great flg criteria. We see that in the States all the time -- kid's color crayon versions of the Stars & Stripes with too few or too many stars and stripes but still unmistakably our flag! One wavy frond and four stars, by comparison, would be child's play! ;)
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Ryan Shuflin
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 13 Aug 2015, 09:38

Chris Green wrote:I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with the Panel's claim that "a great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory". That would immediately rule out such striking and immediately recognisable flags as the Union Flag, the flags of Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and dozens of others, probably even the US flag. Looking at the "long list" one is immediately struck by the fact that with few exceptions the Panel has in fact rejected its own claim.


I think that the US and UK flags can be drawn out by a child, if not accurately, at least recognizably.

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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 17 Aug 2015, 15:48

I think the Black Jack is the best looking one, Trying to imagine some of those waving in the air.

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Chris Green
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Re: New Zealand Considers A New Flag

Postby Chris Green » 01 Sep 2015, 06:07

The list has been whittled down to four. The fact that three feature the fern and two of those are by Kyle Lockwood gives a pretty clear indication where the panel's sympathies lie. Of course the last stage will be to pit the "winner" against the current flag in a referendum.

https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/the-nz-flag-your-chance-to-decide/the-four-alternatives

The proportions of some of the flags seem odd, longer and narrower than most national flags. Not sure if that is intended or a feature of the "emblazonment".

None of the designs could be used as a national coat of arms without the proportions being squashed, but I can find no evidence that that is intended.
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