Sunday, August 23, 2015

New Zealand's New Flag

In case you haven't heard, New Zealand will be holding a referendum to decide whether or not to replace its current flag:


As an Anglophile, I'd be sad to see the Union Jack go.  And, as a vexillologist I appreciate the British flag's excellent design.  But putting a good design in the corner of your flag doesn't necessarily make the derivative flag a good design.  Moreover, flags are meant to be distinguishable and New Zealand certainly has a problem distinguishing itself from Australia.

There will be voting later this year to choose a candidate which will then go head-to-head against the current flag in a second round of voting next year.

Among the official long list of proposals, there are several that I like.  The white and black fern is a traditional symbol of New Zealand, used since the 19th century, and is a very clean design.  (There's also a nice variant of this with green.)


Another design, titled "Land of the Long White Cloud," incorporates the Southern Cross from the current flag with the colors of the Maori flag:


I also like the Black Jack, which is a stylized version of the current flag, but uses traditional New Zealand black and the koru, an unfolding fern frond, another traditional New Zealand symbol:


Of course there are more possibilities than just those that made the official long list.  One option would be to use the United Tribes Flag, arguably New Zealand's first flag, which incorporates elements of British vexillology.


Do you have a favorite from the long list?  Thoughts on when it's right and wrong to change flags?  Please, share!
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