Flagging a Change

Features, Headlines — By on May 4, 2015 10:52 am

Why is a new flag important for New Zealand? What should it be like? Helen Borne asked for views from an historian, a brand expert and a writer.

Bold Move Needed

Fifty years after Canada changed its flag – to the maple leaf design known around the world – we need to make a similar bold but inevitable move towards our own clear identity.

Our flag isn’t unique – the Union Jack and a version of the Southern Cross appear in other national flags – and it’s not distinctive. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage describes the flag’s blue background as representing the sea and sky around us, but that feels like a limp afterthe- fact justification. The sea and sky surround Japan, say, and Malta – another Commonwealth country – but the flags of Japan and Malta are striking red-and-white designs.

The colours of red, white and blue seem explicitly drawn from the Union Jack in our flag’s canton. Like the presence of the Union Jack, they speak of a colonial past. Many of the other flags with a Union Jack canton are still British overseas territories, like Bermuda and the Falkland Islands. It’s no surprise if this is how we too are perceived.

The Union Jack itself feels tenuous even in Britain: if Scotland had voted for independence last year, taking the Saltire of St Andrew with them, the Union and its flag would no longer exist. The Union Jack also incorporates the Saltire of St Patrick, added to the flag in 1800, when all of Ireland was part of Britain. This hasn’t been the case since 1922, and to some communities in Northern Ireland the Union Jack is controversial and inflammatory. Sometimes we talk of flags as though they’re ancient and unchangeable. In New Zealand, our current flag was introduced only in 1902 – after our soldiers had fought in the Boer War, and our rugby players toured Britain for the first time.

The silver fern is a potent symbol in sport, but our flag represents more than our sporting gods and more than our old imperial allegiances. My vote is for the national Māori flag that flew on the Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day 2010. Its clean, distinctive red-, white-and-black koru design is a clear expression of New Zealand’s unique place – cultural and physical – in the world.

Dr Paula Morris (Ngāti Wai)
Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing Faculty of Arts

Telling People Who We Are

For me, the question is not whether a new flag is important but how important is the flag?

A flag is a symbol, an emblem. It stands for something else – the “realm”, the “nation”, the “people”, the “government”. As with all such symbols, flags are invented. In 1834 Māori chiefs voted on the United Tribes flag; from 1840 the Union Jack flew over the colony; and in 1902 King Dick Seddon decreed the current flag. We fly more than one flag. There is the national flag, the Queen has a New Zealand flag, the Governor-General has a flag, the Māori sovereignty flag was launched in 1990, official flags exist for ships and aircraft.

The flag can signal who we are and how we feel. People fly, wave and wear the flag during international sporting events; it is lowered to half-mast as a sign of mourning. It lets the ships of other nations know we are friendly and have a right to be in the water, indicates who is in the car, and identifies our team in the Olympic stadium. And we recognise our flag, even if few other people do.

Unlike some peoples, we do not show a great deal of respect for our national flag. We have gone in for chopping down flagstaffs, not only at Kororareka in the nineteenth century but also in the 1980s when a misguided Minister of Education wanted to make it compulsory for all state schools to fly the flag daily. Burning and other forms of dishonouring the flag are against the law and therefore a popular form of protest.

Because we want people to know who we are, and a flag is a way of doing this, we have to have one. The flag should say something about place and history. Our current flag does this by recognising the British past (the Union Jack is relegated to a corner) and by the stars of the Southern Cross. Missing is any reference to Māori history. Is this enough to require a new flag? Yes. And as the country changes over the next 100 years, the flag will change again. It is the shadow and not the substance.

Raewyn Dalziel Emeritus
Professor of History, and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

Branding New Zealand

New Zealand has a history of debate about whether the national flag should be changed. Alternative designs have been proposed but there is no consensus as to which design should replace the flag. Arguments for the change are that it is too similar to the flag of Australia and it does not represent New Zealand’s current status as an independent multi-cultural nation. Opponents to change argue that the national flag has “stood the test of time and represents a proud history with the UK”.

Does the current New Zealand flag play an important role in the country branding of New Zealand? NO. Traditional thinking about country branding focuses on having distinctive identity and image that is recognised in its export markets. Clearly the current New Zealand flag does not do at all well here. Its identity is easily confused with the Australian flag and even the Union Jack. In terms of image the associations with the UK have little or no meaning in most of our export markets.

Contemporary thinking about country branding takes a broader perspective. Here the New Zealand flag could become part of a process to create distinctive collective meaning within export industries, export markets and New Zealanders at home and abroad. Recently the New Zealand trade development organisation (NZTE) has launched a major country branding strategy based on the “New Zealand story”. The initiative is about broadening the perception of New Zealand internationally beyond the scenic beauty of the country to include attributes like innovation and resourcefulness, the unique Māori culture, and the integrity and the welcoming friendly approach (www.story.newzealand. com). Once again the current New Zealand flag does not do at all well here.

Could a new New Zealand flag play an important role in the country branding of New Zealand? YES

An appropriately designed flag could not only help build a strong identity and image but more importantly it could play a key role in a process that builds a distinctive collective meaning within export industries, export markets and among New Zealanders at home and abroad. However, this is conditional on a design that reflects and facilitates the “New Zealand story”.

Professor Rod Brodie Department of Marketing University of Auckland Business School

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Our contributors’ views are intended as the beginning of a discussion. Please leave comments below to continue the conversation. Letters to the editor are also welcome. You can also email  ingenio@auckland.ac.nz or post to Ingenio, Communications and Marketing, Private Bag 92019, Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 1142

***

The views expressed above reflect personal opinions and are not those of the University of Auckland.

 

Tags: ,

40 Comments

  1. judith aitken says:

    In general pretty underwhelmed by advocates for change and bothered by sloppy approach to very expensive public survey as proposed by the Government. However, if pushed past the status quo agree with Prof raewyn Dalziel’s comments , notably relating to current absence of tangata. whenua

  2. Ross Smith says:

    Some very erudite commentators. If the rest of the world can’t recognize our flag who has the problem? We are as unlikely as snow in Kaitaia to change the side of the road we drive on to accommodate accident prone foreign drivers. Change for change sake doesn’t add up. Going beyond that the monies being paid to those to come up with an alternate design is rather staggering, important though that may be to the exercise if the vote is for change.

  3. Barbara Fray says:

    In an unstable ecconomy such as we are in, to change the flag and have the survey, shows a complete lack of responsibility. The government want to change the flag and are pushing for it no matter what the cost. The fact that the majority of the peoples of New Zealand don’t want it, should be enough for notice to be taken,however it won’t end until they have their way. So help our country when we have this type of arrogance.

    • Lisa Pedersen says:

      I agree fully with you Barbara. 88% on Campbell’s poll last night say no to a new flag. I thought we had a democracy here. It’s starting to smack of Walmart bully boy tactics…
      It’s not rocket science that a small country like ours, with modest wages, and all the social ills, in most cases related to that fact, need to use money much more sensibly than this.

    • Catherine. says:

      What arrogance are you referring to? The mere fact that the present government is initiating a referendum is an indication that it wants to know what the people think. therefore, congratulations to this government so that people like me have the chance to make our opinion known. I want a change so that as an independent nation, we can be represented by a flag that truly shows our amazing diversity, not tied to a colonial past.

  4. Glynn Owens says:

    A total waste of money, motivated primarily, I cynically suspect, by politicians who want to have “something to be remembered by”. If we want people to recognise our flag (do we care? Can’t say that *I* do) we need to do things that will impress the world – it’s the achievements that make us recognisable, not the label. This is a further example of the business mentality that prizes appearance over achievement – “get a new logo and the world will beat a path to your door”(even if it’s just cutting off the corners of the present logo). Sure the reference to Maori is missing – so are the references to all the other wonderful groups who make our country what it is today – the Dutch, the Chinese, the South Africans, the Indians and many others.
    And why two referenda? It would be simpler to include the current flag on the choices of the first referendum and simply ask voters which they’d like best. There are better things on which to spend the tremendous amount of money this would all end up costing.

    • Philip Cass says:

      When there are 250,000 children living below the poverty line.
      When New Zealand industry has been decimated.
      When housing in Auckland is beyond any sensible levels.
      When the country is in the hands of a gang of right wing lunatics who want to sign a secret trade deal that will hand over sovereignty to multinational corporations who will use investor resolution mechanisms to override rules made in our names.
      Why is the government proposing to waste money on this idiocy?
      Because they hope it will distract people from asking them to solve the country’s real problems.
      This country doesn’t need a new flag. It needs a new government.

      • Lisa Pedersen says:

        Thank you. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
        They think we are idiots.
        It’s time to start some peaceful marches.
        Is anybody interested? They aren’t getting it. We need louder tactics.

        We can’t rely on the government to stand up for the vulnerable, the helpless, the absolutely desperate. We need to stand up for these neglected ones.
        Come on Kiwis!

  5. Graham Saunders says:

    There could be a misunderstanding arising from Dr Paula Morris’ comments. Although the Union Flag is seen as provocative, and sometimes offensive, in Northern Ireland, the Saltire of St Patrick is not. It is not the presence of Paddy’s saltire in the Union flag that causes offence, but that the Union Flag, when flown in certain areas, is a reminder to the inhabitants that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. The fact that it is provides reason for the saltire to still be a component of the Union Flag.

  6. Catherine Smith says:

    In the latest two polls taken last week and a year ago, 70% of the public had no wish for change. However we seem to have a spare $25 million dollars, which is vitally needed for all the more pressing problems our country faces, to waste on this non-event or should I say – John Key’s legacy to himself?

  7. Peter Jansen says:

    Happy with the way the status quo. That said, any change should retain strong reference to NZ’s British heritage, because if NZ not been a western democracy very few post-WW1 emigrants would have chosen to come to here. Absent British colonisation and domination NZ is a replica of Papua New Guinea with Australia keeping a benevolent eye and providing requisite subsistence aid.

  8. Tony Merriman says:

    The upcoming referenda on changing our flag are an exercise in patronising superiority from the government. Rather than respectfully asking first: “Do you want a new flag?”, the government are asking: “We think you need a new flag, which one would you want?”. Aside from the condescension of the approach, it is fundamentally flawed. The approach will encourage strategic voting in the first referendum for the design perceived as least likely to ‘win’ against our current flag.

  9. Caroline Thomas says:

    Why is it that everytime there is a major issue at hand, the Key Government tries to hoodwink us by proposing some trivial matter as a smokescreen. Changing the flag is not necessary and a gross waste of taxpayer money. Instead they should be focusing in the TPPA. If they spent the same amount of money as they intend to spend on the flag issue, informing us of the true implications of the TPPA we would be better off.
    The flag issue is nothing more than a smokescreen for the Government’s dirty dealings elsewhere.

  10. Lech Janczewski says:

    National flag somehow “represents” a nation. Many countries have some symbols, texts or shapes associated with them. On this basis NZ flag has Union Jack and Southern Cross on it. I understand that the government wants to make the flag easily recognisable around the world, and, of course, to show our independence throwing away the Union Jack.
    Quite successfully, Canada did it 50 years ago. Maple leaf become a symbol of that country easily recognizable around the world. Our leaders are pushing for sliver fern. I would strongly advise them not to do so. In many countries (especially in Europe) silver fern leaf (especially on black) is associated with funeral services. But, what about a kiwi bird? It is a native bird, shape is already known around the world and associated with New Zealand. What not to have something similar to the NZ air forces insignia?

  11. Simon Malpas says:

    We need to stand back from the cost of the poll and look more at the opportunity gain. The potential to rally a population around a new symbol for our country, to brand ourselves on both the sporting and business front and to gather worldwide recognition are all benefits that could greatly outweigh the expense of running the poll. I do think the structure of the survey is wrong however. We should be asked whether we want to change the flag first then go to a second round only if the first outcome is for change.

  12. Gordon Halsey says:

    The Canadians changed their flag to bring about a more inclusive society in which the francophone speakers would feel more included. Is this our intention with Government’s move for a new flag? I rather doubt it. Under our old flag, New Zealand punched above its weight. We were a force to be reckoned with and our opinions deferred too. By changing our flag are we going to make our society more inclusive to our treaty partner or is it a mere marketing gimmick? As a country that is often left off of World maps is a new flag going to make us more recognizable? As an older New Zealander who has served under the old flag, I say leave it alone.

    • Ross Smith says:

      As a kiwi living in Canada, for a long time, I understand your frustration about world maps leaving us off!! Letters to the editor of our local paper about that issue draws a blank.

  13. Jenny says:

    Branding selves and rallying to a new iconic symbol is rubbish if the timing of it is wrong – as it is – clearly shown by the number of people not wanting to change the flag for the sake of change. Obviously we will not all relly and will not be united under a new flag. Government will spend the money and say it is so – why bother asking the people as it is all strategic business moves and not much to do with anything that really matters to the everyday person trying to live everyday life. Save the money and put it all off for another 5-ten years. There is serious stuff going on in the world and here at home…..who cares about the colour or stripes on the flag…..not me or my friends. NOT a priority.

  14. THe 1st flag for this country was in 1834 – voted for the chiefs of the United Tribes. There was no need to change it in 1902 at the behest, no doubt, of the British. I firmly believe that we need a flag that is distinctive and recommend that we return to the Uniited Tribes flag or that which has flown since 1990 – described by Dr PAula Morris as being of a distinctive red-, white-and-black koru design that is a clear expression of New Zealand’s unique place – cultural and physical – in the world

  15. Ken Baker says:

    New flag?? I guess marketing, on-line sales, web-designer, advertising executives, dare I say it, intellectual university lecturers, and so on are foaming at the mouth here in expectation of bigger profits and more work. So besides the $25 million we (the Government) are paying for the exercise, we will also pay much more in passed-on costs for changing anything which shows the flag. Is it worth it? Definitely not and all it does is give some politicians a rush and something to talk about.

  16. Arthur Conacher says:

    Of course it should be changed! Who can readily distinguish between the flags of NZ, Oz and Fiji at present?
    The silver fern does pretty well on the sporting field, despite the comment by Lech Jansczewski. And it would nicely complement Canada’s maple leaf.

  17. Mark Treadgold says:

    There are far more urgent things for the politicians to attend to than spending their time and our money on changing the flag.

    I disagree with Dr Paula Morris because the Maori flag
    while representing Maori well fails to represent the multicultural nation we have become of European; Asians and Pacific Islanders

  18. Heather Halcrow Nicholson says:

    We have just marked 100 years since the first Anzac day with our present flag. It is not the time to change it just so Mr J Key can claim to have made the change. Now, exactly what is wrong with our British – English, Scottish, Irish – origin? What is wrong with red, white and blue? No one from other backgrounds has been dragged here unwillingly. They have chosen freely to live in this free, democratic, English-speaking country with its own customs and ways. Do not crassly call any nation’s flag a `brand’. It is not a commercial entity.

  19. Spoon says:

    Chuck a ponytail on it

  20. I’m a Kiwi and I’ve followed this debate with an open mind. If there are elements of the existing flag that are percieved as being too similar to Australia’s flag or other former UK colonies – then why not simply re-arrange the existing design elements? Change the dark blue to another hue? Definitely NOT BLACK. [Too similar to ISIS]. Make the historically valid Union Jack smaller, add in a Koru, Kiwi, or Silver Fern of equal size? I’m proud of our UK heritage; our unique partnership with Maori; and our nation’s democratic principles. I will never agree to these symbols being swept away for commerce and marketing purposes – how cheap is that? or for John Key’s egotistical and tainted legacy.There is no majority will for a new flag. Update the old one?

  21. Chris Perkins says:

    Our current flag is dull and easily confused with Australia’s.
    Navy blue is not the colour of the sky, despite people trying to explain it this way. It is the colour of the navy of our colonial past.
    I love the the United Flags tribe as suggested by Paula Morris. It is stylish and distinctive.
    I definitely think we need a new flag. Though I agree with others it is really not a priority, all things considered

  22. Michel Nieuwoudt says:

    In my view, only when we no longer have the pressing need to spend money on the urgent housing shortage, which has far more serious implications for the country and the economy than would putting a new flag on hold, could we start thinking about changing it.

  23. Ion A Dowman says:

    Whilst the Emperor Napoleon and Tsar Alexander were negotiating the peace at Tilsit in 1807, King Frederick William of Prussia, not party to the talks, remained in close attendance upon the Emperor. He spent much of the time in Napoleon’s company regaling the Emperor with his notions on military uniform designs. Napoleon’s mordant comment: ‘I understood not one word of this trivia.’

    The point is not that Napoleon had no interest in the subject: he himself issued orders from time to time on uniform design and colours, and flag designs and the inauguration of regimental eagles. But there is a time and place. Immersed as he was in high matters of State, of what important could military costume have for him?

    That this country could use a new flag I won’t deny. Frankly, I don’t much care. But it seems to me that this topic could wait for a better season. We have serious socio-economic and political issues that ought to have been addressed years ago, and in which all New Zealanders should take a lively interest. Even the state of our democracy needs a hard look.

    By comparison, the ‘flag debate’ is a matter of little weight – more trivial, withal, than the snapper quota.

  24. I support a change that more accurately represents what New Zealand aspires to be – flags lead the way!

    I am a little surprised at Paula’s suggestion that we approgriate the Tino Rangatiratanga flag – surely that would be another act on colonisation! But I do agree that the tangata whenua need to be recognised for their uniquely grounded place in our evolving identity.

    Gordon Walters found a way of honouring Maori as the foundation culture of this country while engaging in a contemporary global conversation. My emerging concept based on the abstracted koru visual language he bequeathed can be found on my ‘New New Zealand flag’ facebook page.

  25. Victor says:

    STOP discussing new flag designs and start asking WHY we’re being forced to change it against our will. This is the perfect distraction from the TPPA because it’s something everyone has an opinion on which is exactly why it’s being raised now. We’re about to sell our country over to foreign interests but we’re too busy all arguing amongst ourselves over colours and symbols to even notice! Under a new flag we’re a new country, that’s why this is necessary for the TPPA to pass.

  26. Colin Giffney says:

    Yes, we should change. Yes, the timing is right. No, this is not a frivolous distraction.

    The flag created in 1902 reflected New Zealand at the time – birthplace, allegiance to king and country, no recognition of our indigenous people. If Gallipoli is where New Zealand gained its independence, the 100th anniversary is the time to change. Our flag should reflect New Zealand today and take us forward as an independent nation. Like any good parents telling their child to forge their own life, Britain left us for their new farm in the EC in 1974 and told us to make our own way. We should do just that.

    Go to any event where New Zealanders gather – rugby, netball, driving a van around Europe, the Commonwealth Games or even international academic competitions. The flag New Zealanders identify with and present themselves with is not the indistinguishable flag we fly on formal occasions. I am not arguing for a black flag with a silver fern either. We may be able to do better. We do need a flag that represents us now and for the foreseeable future and that people embrace and wear tattooed on their pocket or their cap or their body and in their hearts.

    A flag is about identity and pride and who we are what we stand for. That is not frivolous. It is our future.

  27. David Squire says:

    I’m disappointed that so many people see the referendum as a ‘political smokescreen’. They’re not wrong in saying that this government needs to do more to address the gap between rich and poor, etc – but the flag debate is only political in a peripheral sense. It is primarily a cultural issue, and I really hope the NZ public can put aside their feelings about the way the process is being managed, and vote for a flag the truly represents our modern, mature, multicultural nation. I am proud of my British heritage, but the Union Jack has no place on our flag. India, Canada, Jamaica, Samoa, Malaysia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and a whole host of other Commonwealth countries have already come to this conclusion – now it’s out turn.

  28. John Rice says:

    We can’t debate, let alone change, our flag without understanding what it represents.
    The flag is a symbol of the nature of how we are governed and the legal political system we have respect for and allegiance to – ultimately to fight and die for; as our forebears have done many times in the past.
    In my view our legal political system is the foundation of our wealth and wellbeing. The system being, not the politicians of the day, but our ability to kick them out once we, collectively, decide they are past their used by date. It is the ongoing institutions of government that strive to ensure fairness and justice for us all.
    The system we have was not invented here, but evolved in Britain after centuries of violence and bloodshed leading to a new way of thinking about the nature of life and a better and fairer way of doing things.
    That system is represented by the Union Flag which was first instituted by James I in 1606 to represent the union of Scotland and England under his reign; James I being first a Scottish king.
    To me, the flag as we have it represents the extension of that British legal political system to the southern hemisphere as represented on the flag by the Southern Cross. Both the Victorian (white stars) and NSW colonial flags (gold stars) had the Southern Cross in the 19th century and the Victorian flag still does. New Zealand followed that tradition with red stars, but omitting the 5th star. Introduced by Seddon (King Dick) the NZ Ensign Act was passed in 1901 after debate about whether to include a 5th star or not.
    I warrant that by enlarge every New Zealander has allegiance to our legal political system – without it we have very little (like Syria today). It is the thing that unifies us. Maori accepted it when signing the Treaty of Waitangi. In our proud history both Maori and Pakeha fought and died to defend it; carrying the flag that represents our governing system and their allegiance to it.
    It’s not a perfect system but undeniably better that what prevailed before (violence and bloodshed), and, importantly, open to ongoing improvement.
    To focus on branding, telling others who we are, or relating it to old imperial ties demeans the value of the flag and the importance of its enormous tradition and history.
    The only change I could accept as a mark of our individuality would be the replacement of the Southern Cross with a kiwi – red on a white or black roundel perhaps. The Kiwi is another symbol of our union as a nation – we are certainly all proud to be known and identified as Kiwis.
    Then again I have no problem with the current flag and that is similar to but subtly distinct from the Australian. Our similar history, political systems, close economic ties, and ANZAC tradition make similarity with distinction seem right.

  29. I think our flag is one of the most important icons of our nation. The current flag is not reflective of us as a nation today. Furthermore, the confusion with the Australian flag is ongoing and embarrassing. My wife has designed a new flag which I think reflects New Zealand. You can view it here:
    https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/the-nz-flag-your-chance-to-decide/gallery/Design/796
    She has also made an explanatory video:
    https://youtu.be/RBhAjEN48Bo

  30. Dennis N Horne says:

    Maybe a flag white on one side, to surrender quietly — since we have no defence to speak of — and red on the other, to wave at the bull…

    But, since we’re going to end up with the Maori flag, could we please have a blue top instead of that ghastly black, and could we please dump the race-based Maori seats as a trade off?

  31. Michael Langton says:

    I am a Kiwi living overseas. The nation which gave me birth and nurtured me, has been built by 2 major influences. First the Maori peoples and their culture and second by the entry to our islands of initially, British immigrants, then peoples from other European countries and most recently from many other parts of the world. All have contributed to who and what we are today. At the moment our national flag represents our geographical location (the Southern Cross) and one part of our heritage (the Union Flag). I would be quite happy to see the flag changed (though I would not object strongly if it remained as it is) but if we are to change it let the new design reflect all elements of our nation. Let us not simply jettison one (the “European”) in favour of another (the Maori). Unfortunately we cannot produce a clearly distinguishable design with all elements present (e.g. Dutch, Polish, Chinese etc., etc.). May I suggest that we start with the present Blue Ensign defaced with the stars in the fly half and then further deface it with an appropriate Maori symbol in the lower hoist quarter, rather as the Australian flag has with their Commonwealth Star. Alternatively we could retain the Blue Ensign but deface the fly half with a fitting symbol in place of the stars. Either would emphasise the major elements which have made us who we are.

  32. Ingenio says:

    “Showing the flag or making smoke” by Prof Gordon S. Maxwell ( MSc (Hons) Auck,1971)

    Dr Paul Morris claims the time for a new flag is here, but I ask why should any NZ flag be 100 % unique ? In this world we need & should value our connections; historical, cultural & linguistic. To describe the colour of our present flag as ‘limp after the fact justification’ is rather strange when blue is great and symbolizes a hugely important growing global trend. This trend is captured in the words blue-green infrastructure. The move towards an ecosphere which must, for survival, seriously embrace ecologically based living.

    Glynn Owens came close to diagnosing the reality behind the flag debate by seeing this as a waste of money ! Philip Cass helpfully reminds us of where NZ 25 million $ could more wisely go than towards a flag debate. Like wise, Caroline Thomas injects some more wisdom into this discussion by contending that this 25 Million flag money to be invested on a full examination of the TPPA proposals. And beyond our Kiwi shores, to remind the US that free trade should allow us to sell our green & clean, true blue produce in the US market !

    Lets not allow a flag debate to cast smoke over Aotearoa at a time when our country has soooo many other issues to address. Instead, can we begin a national debate to help make New Zealand the first nation in the Ecosphere to become ecologically sustainable. Te terio waka mua….Onward, GMax

  33. Terry says:

    Why talk about a “new” flag. Few of the proposed flag ideas are new in their entirety – just artistic retakes of tired symbolism. If we must change, and I advocate we do not, why not go back to the future and re-adopt the United Tribes (1834) flag. (Just make sure we use the original version, not the one modified by the bureaucrats). This flag has history, had significant input from maori, and links to the early settler’s origins, being similar to the CMS flags.