Now that the general election is over, the next important issue facing Kiwis can be discussed: the New Zealand flag.
For a while now there have been conversations in the media about whether or not New Zealand needs something different to fly from its flagpoles. Out with the Southern Cross and the Union Jack in the top left-hand corner, and in with the… Well, what? In with what?
There have been plenty of ideas and suggestions about what should replace the New Zealand flag – from sensible to outright silly ideas. But before we think about new designs, let’s think about if we really need something else.
We do. We need a new flag.
Let’s start by looking at the All Blacks. They are the most recognisable New Zealand brand around the world – and there isn’t a New Zealand flag anywhere near them! Then there’s the Black Caps, the Silver Ferns, the Black Sticks, the All Whites, the list goes on. Even our passports are silver and black. Nowhere is there a mention of red and blue, the two main colours on our flag!
And why do we still need the British Union Jack on our flag? We’re no longer part of Britain, no longer ruled from London. Yes, we’re in the Commonwealth, but many other Commonwealth countries have their own flags without any colours or symbols from Britain.
Also, there’s a country that’s quite close to us that uses a similar flag design. We wouldn’t want anyone to get confused!
More important, and more seriously, is the fact the current flag doesn’t acknowledge Maori heritage. New Zealand is a diverse nation with a rich and important cultural heritage and many people from different parts of the world now call New Zealand home. One flag should unite all people under it – and one flag should represent everyone in New Zealand.
Some people have already started to come up with some new ideas. You can see some here.
Choosing a flag to suit everyone is a long and difficult process. John Key announced that there would be a referendum in 2015 so everyone gets a say in deciding if New Zealand needs a new flag. It can’t come too soon. New Zealand needs its own new flag, and it needs to be flying with pride.
What do you think?
Article written by Ben Egerton
[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:[/colored_box]
[colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Why does a country need a flag?
2. Should New Zealand’s flag represent all people who live here now, or should it be a reminder of our country’s history?
3. ‘The All Blacks are New Zealand’s most recognisable brand.’ What does that mean?
[colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:
1. Taking into account some of the arguments and information in the article, design your own new New Zealand flag!
2. Look at the flags from Commonwealth countries. Which of these still have the Union Jack on their flag designs?
3. Flags take designs from many different elements and symbols to do with the country it’s representing. Choose some countries and their flags and see if you can work out why certain things feature on their flags. Here’s a short list to get you started: Australia, South Africa, United States of America, Canada, Brazil, Kenya…
4. Send some of your designs for a new New Zealand flag to us at Kiwi Kids News and we’ll choose some to put up on the site. The best flag, as voted by readers on this site, will get a $100 Warehouse Stationery voucher and a couple of cool books to read.
Send a picture of your flag to [email protected] by the end of next week and we will put the image up for you to vote on. The image with the most votes will win the prize.
[colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: