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The Great New Zealand Flag

Updated on March 25, 2016

The Facts

As noted in recent news bulletins, there are currently calls, backed by a number of Politicians, to change the New Zealand Flag, in order to, as proponents of the change say to this effect, make it more reflect New Zealand as an independent nation, with symbols more of and about us.

There are calls for a referendum on this issue at the next ( November, 2014 ) New Zealand General Election, and it would be interesting to see how the Nation as a whole does feel about this issue.

Below is a quote directly from Wikipedia, within their article on the New Zealand Flag found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Flag. They themselves give the following citing to this quote :

  1. ^ Jump up to: a b "Flags". Ministry for Culture and Heritage (New Zealand). 23 July 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-06.

The current flag was designed and adopted for restricted use in 1869 and became the national flag in 1902. It is the British Blue Ensign, incorporating a stylised representation of the Southern Cross showing the four brightest stars in the constellation. Each star varies slightly in size. The Union Flag in the canton recalls New Zealand's colonial ties to Britain.[1]

New Zealand has had many flags in the past, and the current one, as noted, has been this country's emblem for over the past 100 years, and is older in fact than the Australian Flag.

Most recently, a Television One News Colmar Brunton Poll found that 72% of Kiwis now want to keep the Flag we have, and not change it. This is heartening to me, but I will still be very interested to know the result of the Referendum at the next New Zealand General Election, and I hope at least, that if a majority of Kiwis want to keep our Flag, then that should be the end of it, at least for quite some time. It would be good if it solved the issue for ever, but because even Governments rise and fall, this shows Public Opinion changes from time to time. What if, then, they decide to change, then a few years later, want the old Flag back ? We do not want to shuffle back and forth willy nilly with this one.

I just hope that if the status quo is wished for, with no change, then we don't get what we have had in the past - a small group of discontents changing the law anyway just to suit themselves. I hope Democracy actually does mean something to such people. If, on the other hand, change is desired, then there needs to be a fair process in deciding what to change to, as an Official Flag, without stopping anyone honouring the old one in private. I would still accept the new one, reluctantly, if it came to that, but we must be sure that this is what we want not just for ourselves but future generations who have to live with the decision.

I say still, HANDS OF OUR FLAG - leave it alone, and let us get on with more pressing issues of the day.

Incidentally, I am also against New Zealand becoming any kind of republic. I say leave us as we are - a Constitutional Monarchy, a Dominion of the British Commonwealth - which isn't as bad as it sounds since we are totally independent and make our own laws, and all the British part is, we do not forget who founded us, first as one of their colonies, but then we found our own way, and here we are. We are no less unique, since we have our own way of life, and sure, we play sports common to other Members of said Commonwealth, but we do it our way, and are a lot different from other countries in the Commonwealth and outside. Keep that this way too.


AS OF OCTOBER 16TH, 2014

Once again, the attack on the Flag continues, with Prime Minister John Key opposing the very wishes of the RSA in announcing he would look at changing the Flag. He seems to think it is inevitable like he has to do it, but he should not. Say they had a Referendum, and unfortunately a Majority chose to change - this Referendum he would obey, when he has defied so many others, and yet if the same Referendum chose to retain our Flag, he would ignore it, and do what he seems determined to do. The mandate he got from the people in the recent Election was not permission to change the Flag, but just under half of voters simply wanted him to govern, and surely there are things of more pressing concern which need addressing - and believe me, I could use my precious time on far more constructive things than having to defend our Flag, which should not even be under attack in the first place by those who seem to be a smaller Minority, but the past has told us that this Minority seems to get its way, and fly in the face of what most of the People want. Do not get me started also on the dumbness of MMP as it is now perverted. It is a great idea, which the politicians have ruined because it was going to be Democratic, and they couldn't have that. One Party got four percent of the vote - over 80,000 people, and they were ignored, and the Seats they should have had went to both National and Labour, who had not earned them. Get rid of the five percent threshold and other things and make MMP what it was supposed to be in the first place - fair. I thought our reps are supposed to serve all of us - so change the System, do what WE want, and leave our Flag alone !

As of February 6th, 2015

Once again, on Waitangi Day, of all Times, our Leader, Prime Minister John Key, has decided to further dishonour this Country ( in my humble opinion ) by talking about changing the Flag, without consulting the rest of us. He thinks because he won the Election, he has the Mandate of the People for every little thing he intends to do. For a start, his Party got less than half the Vote ( but more than half the Seats ), and I should think, because of the generally more Conservative nature of a lot of his supporters, a good deal of them are NOT in support of changing our Country's Flag. Let this not be one, like before, that the Government just does all themselves without consultation and dumps it on the People - at least let this one be decided by a Referendum, which I think for this at least, perhaps much younger kids can take part in, as it affects their Future. Certainly, it is not an issue to be rushed like a lot of the other Law changes that affect all of us, which seem to be the opinion of the Minority being forced on that of the Majority.

As of May 10th, 2015

And here we go again ! Now they have sent out Post Cards to every household about changing the Flag in What Do You Stand For ? I checked out the Website, added my spoke, and counted the responses. Look at http://www.standfor.co.nz/?gclid=CN2Xo7nltMUCFQYIvAod8lQAvA and join the fun. Roughly, as it was hard to keep track, out of those who definitely spoke of supporting our Current Flag, compared to all posts, there were about 200 in favour of the Flag, aginst 275 posts in total that I counted - give or take an error on my part, there were still more in favour of retaining the Flag we have, although those for change did make relevant points about us being our own Country - but I say we are, even if we do include another Country's Flag in ours, as we are Independent, and changing the Flag will not alter that - it is like suggesting that Water Baptising an already Born Again Christian saves them more, which it does not, as they are save already, and the Baptism just shows that. OUR FLAG IS FINE. So let us say about 70 per cent are in favour of NO CHANGE, and that is not counting those who did not support the flag or support change, as they gave no opinion on the Flag. Let us hope the Referendum reflects this, and the Binding one next year also allows us to keep the Flag - if not for ever, at least a very long time, until the Pro Changers get restless again. Let them not keep coming back and harping on and on every so often. God Bless, and the Lord Jesus Christ be with You all, and think for Yourselves. Amen.

Keep it the Right Way

As of 18th February, 2016

Now we find that even within the ruling National Party, their Caucus is divided over whether or not New Zealand should change its Flag. Mr. Key does not therefore even seem to have all the support of his own Party, and is as if doing what just he and some others feel like. What is really wrong, is that he and his supporters, not necessarily his Party, but all those looking for a change, had not bothered to find out what the Country wanted in the first place, which, as I have said, could have been easily done in the last Election by a simple question added to it. Who is to say, if they change the Flag, that they will not get sick of the new one in a few years, as it might not represent all the insects in New Zealand, or all other plants, and they might get upset, since it only seems to represent Ferns ?

Remember - THE FLAG HAS NOT CHANGED YET AT ALL

Some of my Relatives expressed confusion earlier this year, thinking the Flag had already changed, since they can see the Design for the New One - the Matter is still to be decided, so do not be put off. The current Flag is still our Representation, and the FLAG HAS NOT CHANGED AT ALL, and it will not, as long as those opposed to change front up and vote when the voting papers arrive IN THE POST. Please, if You want the Current Flag to remain, cast Your Vote, and let Your Voice be heard, and prove that more New Zealanders do not want nor need their Flag to change. Most People I have spoken to want the Flag to stay, so let us hope we can achieve that. THANK YOU.

We Won !

Well so it is. The votes are in, and 56.74 of You chose to keep our Flag, while 43.26 wanted to change to a new one. Thank You all those who stuck up for the Truth. The flag will remain. We have won the Battle, so let us however hope we can win the War, since those opting for change for anything good, or just for the sake of change, will keep going. For those of You still wanting a change, take out Your drivers' licence, and look at the flag. Think about it - if we changed, they would have to change that as well, and do You think the Government would pay for that as well ? There is so much more to changing a Flag, and it would affect so many things. Be glad - it cost a fortune, but defeating it saved us a hang of a lot more. Kia Kaha !

Current New Zealand Flag - illustration courtesy of Wikipedia

The former Christchurch Cathedral - photo courtesy Wikipedia

My Argument

I am completely opposed to proposed changes to New Zealand's precious flag, and hope others will agree. I believe there is no need to change our National Emblem, as it represents us as a Nation perfectly well, and those wanting change cannot even agree on any design. If change is desired by the majority of the people, and I think teenagers should get to vote in such a referendum if one is agreed upon, as this affects their future too, then let it not be just change for the sake of change, nor the desires of a few superseding those of the many. So at this coming General Election, by all means let it just be a vote to see if enough want a change, and move on from there, but don't let it be the whole thing, as they cannot rush a thing like this. I support the current flag, with its blue darkened to more closely resemble our National Colour black, but not black itself, and the red part made even richer red, and perhaps a silver and black fringe in tassles all round it, but that is all - no change of the design of the flag itself. I like the Union Jack in there to reflect the origins of a good many of us, but the Southern Cross which I understand cannot be seen in the Northern Hemisphere, shows us in our rightful place, and it is fine. Some say it is too like the Australian Flag, and it is a shame both were designed so similarly. What they could do, seeing their country is brighter, is lighten the blue on theirs but keep it still darker than the very light blue of Fiji, and use green and gold tassles around theirs. No change is needed for either Flag. Such an undertaking is an unnecessary expense, and might cause resentment as some of us would feel we had to pay homage to a flag we did not desire. If change is agreed upon, I would respect the new flag, as I love New Zealand, but would still look upon the current one as having a place in my bright British/Irish heart, as it takes me back to the Old Countries, and shows me not only where I have come from, but where I am going. I was born here, but Britain will always be special to me, even though I think of myself as a New Zealander.

Cooper Island - photo from Canterbury University

What we did

At intermediate school around 35 years ago, we were asked to draw our own designs for a new New Zealand Flag, and I believe I went along with it, because being then about 11, I did not know any better, and it is in the nature of children to want to experiment. It was in the years to come, as I owned a flag of my own given me by my brother, that I came to respect and love my Flag and my Country, and understood that it had to stay that way.

I recall the time Mr. Hundertwasser began gaining publicity with his design, and was sorry to see his passing, but could not bring myself to support such a move that he was so passionate about. Certainly the Nation is greater than any symbol used to represent it, and indeed flags could come and go and the country will still be here, but will it ever end ? Will they change our Flag only to be bored with it in 20 years' time ?

Does it really matter, since at sports events people wave our Flag, our Southern Cross, the Maori Flag, Silver Fern, Kiwi with a Taiaha, to show they support us - there are so many emblems to this country, and in the times it matters, people will choose what they want to show their support for Aotearoa, but let our Official Flag remain the Symbol of this Land, and the Coat of Arms that of our Government, and leave well enough alone.

We didn't start the Fire

One thing I am completely opposed to is the practice of Flag descecration, pretty much whatever Flag it is. Say someone is upset at what their Government has done, so they set fire to the National Flag to get attention - I would say this is most likely to occur in America, as that must be the most burned Flag of all, and yet perhaps the most honoured - but it occurs everywhere.

The thing is, if one does that, they are alienating those who love their Flag, even if they too have an issue about the thing their Government did to upset the Flag burner, and showing their own ignorance. If a regime in a country does something to upset people, it doesn't mean all the people in that country agree with it, if say the Flag is burnt by a foreigner, and even though it certainly gets peoples' attention, it is the wrong kind of attention, and they get put off by such actions.

Some speak of freedom of expression, but there has got to be a limit. A graffiti artist thinks their spray paint all over the front of a public building or someone's shop is their freedom of expression, but to those who own the building, and to most of those who have to look at it, it is vandalism, and if it is some gang type scrawl, the overall practice more resembles dogs marking their territory in the way they do, so not all free expression is desirable. One is not free to do something that might unreasonably affect the freedom or peace of others.

One could argue the exception might be if one is at war with a foreign country and lives are on the line, and burning their enemy's Flag is intended as a gesture of defiance, especially in World War Two with the Nazi swastika, as that did not represent all of Germany anyway, but a misguided and by our standards, evil political belief system.

But in peace, when one is upset about some leaders of a country having policies they do not agree with, there may be other ways to express their lawful right to their own opinion, without destroying the symbol that may even represent them, or at least those who might agree with them.

A lot of this stems from these ideas some people get about defying authority just for the sake of it, and in the end when all authority is gone, who is in charge ? Because those of the sixties counter culture, who wanted a revolution in countries especially of the Western World, would they then take over, and become the new Establishment, and what then is the difference - rather like the ending to Animal Farm after the beasts drove off the humans, the pigs began walking on twos like them.

Certainly we need authority that is fair and not autocratic, but History shows us that when people are oppressed, or at least feel so, they lash out, but end up attacking some of the very ones they were trying to defend, and it may not be so that all in authority were unreasonable. The trouble is, my idea of good authority might not match that of someone else who is not in and of themselves completely irrational or bad, but just have different ideas about how life should be live. It is just that I try to base my standards on the Bible, and others may disagree with that, but that is their right. I feel that patriotism itself is also a choice, and nothing is worth doing if one feels forced into it.

One important thing is, a country should probably have only one official Flag, but here we do still have many relevant symbols of love for our Country, as well as the Coat of Arms. Check it out.

Our Kiwiana - images courtesy Wikipedia and sites from Google, edited on Microsoft Paintbox

About our Kiwiana

Now sure, a lot of these images could not, nor should they, be put on a Flag, but there are some there that have been used as Flags, as well as our current one. Next to it is the New Zealand Coat of Arms, said to be our official symbol, it is used by Government departments, so it is much a symbol of the Government of New Zealand, while the Flag is that of the Country as a whole. Both are absolutely fine in that respect.

The danger of designing a new Flag is trying to work out what to include, and excluding certain things others may find dear, and offending them. The Flag needs to represent us as a People, but being too specific may alienate others who feel not included. I think the current Flag is perfectly representative but also does not go into too much detail about us so as to concentrate more on one or two aspects, thereby leaving other things out. One could say its slight vagueness is therefore more fair.

The image is not out of date. We are an English speaking Country, most of whom do descend from the United Kingdom, and we are still positioned on Earth where we can view the Southern Cross, under a sometimes magnificent blue sky. If it is not broken, do not fix it.

I will hear take the time to offer a sincere apology to whomever was at Lancaster Park ( then I believe called Jade Stadium ) on Tuesday, the 22nd of February, 2005, who had a desk laid out with alternatives for a new Flag. I did stop, but walked off I think a bit rudely without hearing the person out. I should have asked why they wanted to change our Flag, and listened to their side of the story, even though I disagreed with it. I was miffed though at the whole idea of there always being someone who has to try to change something either not bad or good, and I could say, well, why not get rid of crime instead of our Flag ? But this is the issue that person did and I believe does still feel passionately about, and it is still important, since one could say the same sort of thing to me - here I am going on about the Flag and there are disasters everywhere - but what do you want me to do ? This here is what I can do, and if I see other bad things happening, then I can do something about it - the same can be said by those in favour of changing the Flag.

Some of the Reasons we are passionate about our beautiful Flag- images off Wikipedia

My alternative - don't change, just tweak it a bit - a comparison

The Reasons for These

The Terrific Twins. Above is my idea of what both flags could look like if my suggestions are accepted. I do not wish to try to force upon the great Commonwealth of Australia any emblem they themselves would not agree to, but they also must have heard arguments from those over there who want to change their flag that it too much resembles ours. But this way the differences could be seen.

The tassles may just be used for ceremonial purposes, like on flags for cars in official motorcades, and the offices of senior Government reps like the PM, Leader of the Opposition, MPs, Ambassadors and such, but here they are. I had an Australian Great Grandmother, and I still have many relatives there who are true blue Aussies, so the issue concerns me as much as what they are trying to do with my Flag does.

More Reasons to love New Zealand, even if You just want to visit - photos courtesy Wikipedia and Google

Disclaimer

This Hub gives a certain point of view, and I would certainly welcome Your respectful opinions, and if You believe in change, by all means, tell us all why. I would really like to gauge the level of support for both change and keeping it as it is , or any other compromise option.

As much as some of this Hub contains certain Mathematical knowledge accessible in the public domain, and not subject to any Copyright, other information has been drawn from textbooks which themselves are Copyright, but only in the sense of how they deliver the information which itself is shared and sometimes ancient Mathematical knowledge. Other information has also been found on Wikipedia ( Copyright 2013, the Wikimedia Foundation ), which is a good source of information. Part of this is also my own discovery, but may also independently have been found by others.

Some of the illustrations in this particular Hub are my own, and have primarily been done using Microsoft™ Paintbox, edited from illustrations done using Microsoft™ Word. Others are, as noted, from Wikipedia. Any quote or part of this material which seems to belong to any other author should be treated as such, and I claim no ownership of anything I did not myself invent or discover, nor of any obvious copyright, trade mark, or registered trade mark.

Reference to Colmar Brunton Poll found on Wikipedia, and can be accessed directly at http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/three-quarters-kiwis-against-changing-flag-poll-5850358

Reference in one section title is to the song "We Didn't Start the Fire", released by Columbia Records on September 27, 1989, and is a song by Billy Joel ( 1949 - ), an idea from a conversation he had with a friend of Sean Lennon ( 1975 - ), who said nothing happened in the fifties, so Joel began to go over what he remembered of those times and the lyrics developed out of that. This information courtesy Wikipedia.

The Kiwiana images include those of a Trademark nature. These are references to the All Blacks, Black Caps, Marmite, Watties, Swanndri, Edmonds, Four Square Supermarkets, Buzzy Bee - favourite of His Royal Highness Prince William - Jandals, The Longest Drink in Town, Air New Zealand, Tip Top Ice Cream, Footrot Flats, Cookie Time, Enza. Any lack of inclusion of any brand is no judgment on my part as to their status in the marketplace, nor to any thought they are no less Kiwi or not representative of New Zealand.

Some brands, like Pams and Para, and Skellerup, PDL, Skope, Moffat, are Kiwi, but may not for some reason have achieved the fame and cult status of others we are more likely to associate with Kiwiana. In years to come, such brands as those may also come to the fore. Also, in former years the associations with Kiwiana might have been different with other trade marks no longer in use. In the sixties, just as the time Pan Am was the fashionable American Airline, there was a big deal about TEAL - Tasman Empire Airways - and people liked to own the shoulder bags they came out with. In former times I recall NAC, DIC Beaths, Haywrights, Coull Sumner and Wilkie, Bascands printers, MacKenzies stores, IGA, Smiths Crisps, Jacks Crisps, St George canned goods - we even had the American Twinkies, and I still cannot understand why they went off the market - they were nice. Again, former brands not all Kiwi, but even Coca-Cola and other foreign brands are just as much a part of Kiwi life as they are to other countries - they may just be not exclusively Kiwi.

In addition, some products considered Kiwiana, like Pineapple Lumps and Chocolate Fish, are made by companies of foreign origin, but may be still more linked to New Zealand, even if not unique to New Zealand, like the Woolmark and Sunlight Soap. I include Pavlova as Kiwi, and Aussies may fairly disagree, but what say You jokers keep Lamingtons as Yours alone, and we get the Pav ? I guess they want it, because Pav is fav. This last quote I believe associated with the British violinist Nigel Kennedy , but I cannot find any references to it, but recall seeing it on a banner done by his fans over 20 years ago.

The Adventure continues in the next Hubs.

Also please check out the other Hubs, The Maths They Never Taught Us - Part One , The Maths They Never Taught Us - Part Two , The Maths They Never Taught Us - Part Three , The Very Next Step - Squares and the Power of Two , And then there were Three - a Study on Cubes, Moving on to Higher Powers - a First look at Exponents, The Power of Many More - more on the Use of Exponents, Mathematics - the Science of Patterns , More on the Patterns of Maths , The Shape of Things to Come , Mathematics of Cricket , and Trigonometry to begin with.

Just take a good look at it, and note how interesting it all is, then see if you can come up with anything else along the same lines. As usual, I would appreciate any comments, feedback and suggestions which would be given due credit, or indeed have a go and publishing Your ideas Yourselves, but firstly, by all means, add Your comments - it's a free Country.

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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      People feel very strongly about their national flag. I happen to live in a state in America that almost came to blows over changes to our flag, but ours had a history based on conflict and prejudice. It was difficult to decide to make the changes to represent who we were today, not in the past.

      All I know is New Zealand is one of the most beautifully varied pieces of geography on the planet. Please add some pictures of your beautiful country to this interesting hub!

    • cbl12 profile image
      Author

      cbl12 3 years ago

      Now do not please take this the wrong way, but I do believe sometimes that Americans do seem to take certain issues - especially political ones - very seriously, and unfortunately at times, this does lead to violence. The same though can be seen in the United Kingdom with their soccer. I understand that some people who may support a certain political party will have nothing to do with others who support a different one - especially when talking about the Democrats and Republicans.

      Here I believe we are more easy going, and believe me, in writing this Hub about my beloved Flag, I held myself back, since I thought that trading insults is not the way to go. I recall in years past my late father would discuss politics with my uncles and others, and some supported different political parties to us - sure, my Dad would not have been happy about that, but he never let it get in the way of his friendships with people. I am passionate about this flag, but I do want to hear what those in favour of changing have to say about it, to see if I could convince them in a fair manner to leave the Flag alone. I tell You what, as I just said to my neighbour the other day, and he is in favour of change, since I actually also have a U.S. Flag up on my ceiling, and said to him, that I guarantee they would never seriously consider changing that Flag, except to add stars if they added states like Yous did back in 1959. I do get Your comments about us representing who we are today, but I do feel our current Flag still does that, as most of us are of British stock, like myself, and in any case, the Southern Cross on the Flag shows us where we are in the World - stars that cannot be seen in the Northern Hemisphere, as far as I know. As for the Photos - too right ! And thanks for commenting .

    • cbl12 profile image
      Author

      cbl12 3 months ago

      Now the debate is over for now, since as of May, 2016, the Country voted to retain the New Zealand Flag, and let us hope either certain people within the Government, or other groups, do not try to distract us from the important issues by trying to make changes in other things that are precious to us.

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