Flying the Fern Flag

January 17th, 2010 at 9:21 am by David Farrar

and are thinking big. They want to fly the silver fern flag over the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.

And when I say “fly” and “over” I mean it literally. They want to have a chopper fly it over the bridge. Now of course a normal sized flag is hard to see up in the air, so their flag will be 10,000 square feet in size.

However making and flying a flag costs money – $20,000 in fact. But for those who want to change the flag, it is a great promotion and will get great media attention. So if you are willing to contribute towards the cost, email john@johnansell.co.nz.

And if you have a preference, for which fern design gets flown, if enough money is raised (pledges will be returned if not enough is raised), feel free to comment on John’s blog.

UPDATE:

Who knows what this is?Answer over the page.

This awful flag was the Canadian flag before they ditched it for the maple leaf flag. Hopefully we’ll look back one day also, and wonder why it took so long to swap, and why didn’t we do it earlier.

Incidentially, John A says that the maple leaf design at the time was criticised thus:

There is no recognition of history; no indication of the existence of French and English Canada; the partnership of the races; no acknowledgement of history. It is a flag without a past, without history, without honour and without pride.

A flag should not be a history book or an essay. It should be a symbol. A fern flag would one day I am sure become as iconic as the Canadian maple leaf flag has become.

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70 Responses to “Flying the Fern Flag”

  1. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Thanks for linking David.

    Our thinking has moved on since that post and we’ve decided to fly this flag
    http://johnansell.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/my-preferred-new-zealand-flag/

    We call it the Black and Silver (well, if the US can have a Stars and Stripes…)

    We’ve got till Wednesday to raise the $20,000.

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  2. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    it is a great promotion

    Promotion for what?

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  3. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Well we can do better than a weed. Doesn’t normal have a flag with weed?

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  4. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    And for those who want to put a kiwi on our flag, bear in mind that a large number of Canadians wanted their flag to feature a beaver.

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  5. s.russell (1,596 comments) says:

    “A flag should not be a history book or an essay. It should be a symbol. ”

    What an extraordinary idea: that a nation’s flag should be about its future rather than about its past. I like it.

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (3,280 comments) says:

    Yes, I recognise the Canadian flag.

    Do you recognise this one: http://tinyurl.com/whatflag [don't cheat and look at the url...]

    When I defend the New Zealand flag, I’m not doing just because I happen to think all the alternatives look like they were designed by John Ansell, and I’m not doing just because of the history of the flag. I happen to think our current flag looks awesome.

    It may have been luck that that’s how it ended out, but our flag is way better looking than the Australian flag, and is just nearly perfectly weighted as a design – the colours, relative sizes, everything. The old Canadian flag doesn’t look that great, our flag looks incredible. That’s why I don’t want to change it.

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  7. MT_Tinman (3,094 comments) says:

    Gotta admit I agree with the comments on the current Canuk flag (second sentence), in fact I’ve never seen such an appropriate flag.

    From the direction the country is being headed by current politicians flying a white feather above the Jafaville harbour bridge also seems appropriate but I’m buggered if I’ll pay for the privilege.

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  8. Sean (300 comments) says:

    Sorry, but the design looks too much like a marketing logo from certain viewpoints on John’s website; and I’m well aware that a flag sometimes is used for that but its primary purpose is to represent a nation.

    The point about the beaver is a red herring (excuse the pun). There’s nothing unique about a beaver – while there is a distinct Canadian beaver species, the genus is found all over North America and Eurasia and few people not versed in beaver studies could tell the difference between the two.

    The kiwi is on the other hand a unique native bird. The symbol has also been used by our military – this is an important point when considering the origins of the current Canadian flag, since its based on a Canadian military flag. The maple leaf has been used as a symbol of Canada for centuries. While the silver fern has been used for some time its also been interchanged with the kiwi, so there isn’t the same length of tradition.

    The traditional New Zealand army colours are red and black and the silver fern logo looks a lot more distinctive in those hues. If you’re insistent on black and white, NZ forces wear a white kiwi on a black background.

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  9. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    I was looking up the history of Ghana last night, when I tripped over its colonial flag when it was known as the Gold Coast. Another truly ugly flag:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_Gold_Coast.svg

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  10. Nigel Kearney (970 comments) says:

    >What an extraordinary idea: that a nation’s flag should be about its
    >future rather than about its past. I like it.

    Of course the silver fern is not about our future or anything else. It’s just a leaf. The choice here is between a flag that is linked to our past and basically a random design. The people who want to change the flag largely have that view because they don’t want anything that suggests a link to the UK. The main point of the silver fern idea is to get the Union Jack off the flag without being completely blatant about it and advocating just a Southern Cross flag.

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  11. fisho (18 comments) says:

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with the NZ flag. The argument that everyone mistakes it for the Aussie flag is a total load of bollocks. There are VERY distinct differences between the two, and if you are over the age of 8 and still can’t figure them out then you can bugger off somewhere else as you don’t deserve to be a Kiwi. The French and Netherlands flags are almost identical (especially if you’re laying down) but you don’t hear of them lining up to change their flags.

    Having said that, if someone came up with an uncomplicated design, using basic colours, that was symbolic of our country (as a whole) then I could be swayed. Looking at these silver fern designs, I can’t help but wonder how some poor wee kid at school can manage to draw something as complicated as a fern leaf, let alone where the f**k he/she is going to find a silver crayon :)

    My preference would be for a design that utilises the kiwi bird silhouette like our Air Force aircraft roundels. The kiwi is our own unique bird (unlike a fern leaf), it’s our international nickname, and is something that I think would please the masses more than a koru design or similar.

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  12. Jadis (147 comments) says:

    Are there other flags in the world with silver on them? How do they reproduce? My concern is that reproductions of the flag would end up being gray not the shiny silver. Gray and black just looks a bit dreary.

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  13. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    It’s just a matter of time, and finding the right replacement. Good on John for keeping the topic out there.

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  14. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    Although I am now a luke warm Republican (after QE2 has shuffled off) I see no reason at all to change our flag. It reflects our history; where we have come from (English settlers) and where we all (Maori and Pakeha) are (under the Southern Cross).

    BLack and white silver fern (ferns are green anyway) just dosn’t cut the mustard with me. Ugly creation.

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  15. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    Another sample

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  16. Repton (769 comments) says:

    [Ansell:] What do you think? Does the moving flag change your mind about this design?

    Actually, it makes me feel slightly queasy :-/

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  17. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    And if we do get a new flag, some PR wallahs will tell us it is tired and meaningless after several years and that we need a new one.

    Similar to organisations changing their logos every several years or so. Their PR consultants probably think, business is a bit slow, lets drum up some work, tell the managers they need a new logo. They then charge $50,000 to produce a new logo and it then costs a million or so to change signage, letterheads, etc.

    Who care, for example, what sort of logo Inland Revenue has for example. A nailed cudgel or hands wringing blood out of a stone however might be appropriate.

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  18. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    It would be good to have a meaningful flag in the first place. One that is relevant to us now, one that is recognisable and one can be proud of.

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  19. BlairM (2,317 comments) says:

    I have a great idea. How about people just fly whatever flag they want to fly? Why do we need an official flag? Since the event of radio communication, flags have been stripped of their only practical purpose, which was to identify strange ships. So it’s not necessary. And as far as what flag flys from government buildings… I really don’t care.

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  20. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Imagine going the the rugby at the SCC or anywhere in Aussie with a white feather for a flag.
    We would get shit from every Aussie there and rightly so.
    A symbol that looks like a white feather will inevitably draw that comparison and although the Nats. are borderline to surrender most of the time the rest of us are actually proud to be Kiwi.
    Ansell should look at his dancing Cossacks and wonder what happened to the Nats. post both that election and the last one.
    This last lot stood there and said, oh what do we do know? and proceeded quietly to continue to roll out the socialism program.

    Is this really what he and the Nats. stand for, white feather to socialism. I suspect the problem is that neither know which way is the future.

    Like I said we can do better than a weed or a white feather.

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  21. Jack5 (5,007 comments) says:

    Yeah, and while you’re at it Ansell, change the national anthem to Fern-iuculee, Fern-icular.

    White feather for a national flag. Yuk! Wouldn’t have to strike it to surrender.

    The economic, strategic, and rational answer is for NZ to become a state of Australia (or maybe two states). Can worry about state flags then.

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  22. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Oh another thing about silver fern’s. What are they/ A bunch of girls! (and I’m not meaning to be derogatory at all towards the girls or the team, just saying that the Aussies will slaughter us forever with that kind of symbol.
    And as for the Ferns their record against Aussie is that about each 15 years they will have more prowess than the Aussies. Even the Fern management know that.
    Perhaps if we change their name we will better that.

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  23. V (716 comments) says:

    Or we could keep the current flag and donate $20 000 to Haiti, as a symbol of there being bigger priorities.

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  24. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    Kenneth Wang …. was he the guy who offered ACT $80,000 in return for a high list ranking?

    More money than cents.

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  25. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    A new flag reflects a new New Zealand.

    The nation we all know and love has almost demised.

    The new generation can’t be told what they missed and the pollies bank on that.

    Liarbour even said thay got kicked out because of light bulbs and shower heads. Liarbour indeed.

    The problem with this new black and silver flag is of course, Maoridom is not reflected in it. It will never pass muster.

    Which is ironic as Maori adorn themselves in black.

    I have to admit though, a new age should be reflected with a new symbol and this flag epitomises NZ.

    Still, if we’re going to become a part of Oz………..

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  26. Fletch (6,251 comments) says:

    The question about flags was asked on Backbenches a few weeks back. The question may have been about flying the ‘Maori flag’ on the bridge. They asked someone who I think may have been a Maori bishop, and he said the current flag was the one the Maori Battalion fought under and died for. Then he sang the Maori Battalion song and people in the pub joined in. That’s what our current flag is – it’s a symbol of what we’ve been through and it pulls us together in a joint patriotism for our country.

    Isn’t a new flag just a reason to be trendy?

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  27. whalehunter (479 comments) says:

    maybe our new flag could be red with some yellow stars. the way our lefty country is going, in a few decades time, well be cheap enough to buy.

    typically nzers would love a flag incorperating sport and maori intrests, we should add a work and income logo in there too..

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  28. Komata (1,161 comments) says:

    The Silver Fern as our national symbol? Those of us with long-enough memories and associations with the RNZAF will recall that at one time the RNZAF roundel was graced by the Silver Fern – the ‘fern being placed inside the red ‘dot’ in the centre of the RAF-type Blue, White and Red roundel carried by RNZAF aircraft as they served around the world.

    Our allies at the time (Britain, Australia and the US, (amongst others)) , couldn’t make any sense of the ‘Fern and its reason for being on the roundel in all its white and (later silver) beauty, and Kiwi airmen spent an inordinate amount of time explaining the significance of the ‘Fern to our country to members of these other air forces; frequently coming-away with the distinct impression that their audience still didn’t get the point. A collective sigh of relief was expressed when a directive cam through from ‘Headquarters directing that the ‘Fern was to be replaced by the current Kiwi.

    If reasonably intelligent airmen couldn’t get the point of the ‘Fern, it is probably very doubtful that the average citizen of any nation currently-existing will find it any easier.

    Having said that, and FWIW, the ‘Fern is actually a lot older as a national symbol that the Kiwi, with the Silver Fern ern being first used as a NATIONAL symbol by the 1888 New Zealand Native Rugby team on its tour of Britain. It was also used as a symbol of New Zealand by our servicemen in both world wars. Interestingly, only the Silver Fern and the Southern Cross are actually ‘official’ reperesntations of this country – the Kiwi simply isn’t included – yet.

    The debate willl doubtless continue for a few more years yet, but ‘offically’ the Silver Fern’ may already have the edge. Time alone will tell.

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  29. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    Wave the white flag and lets get it over with. Call Crudd and ask him to make us a state of Australia.

    By the way the fern is not unique to NZ unlike the Kiwi, i.e. until we began to leave and won’t be long there will be more going if this useless lot in Govt don’t start getting their shit together for Kiwi’s.

    25% youth unemployment. Chronic would be the description. One of the few policies they promoted but without any thought at all.

    We could get them to ride bikes up and down the trail to wear it in I suppose.

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  30. GPT1 (2,116 comments) says:

    Hmm, iconic as in the only flag of a respectable country designed by a PR team. It’s a leaf FFS. I like the current flag, I like what it stands for, what it represents and what it looks like.

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  31. mavxp (496 comments) says:

    Of the Australian and NZ flags, the NZ flag was the original to feature the southern cross alongside the Union Jack.

    Prior to 1864 when Governor Sir George Bowen put the stars on our flag, we had the letters NZ in red. The Australian flag dates from 1901, and the reason they are so similar (and this wasn’t thought a problem at the time) is that New Zealand was meant to join the Australian Federation.

    Our Governor at the time got horribly sea sick and decided NZ wouldn’t join otherwise he’d have to make regular journeys… and the rest as they say is history :-)

    C’mon guys lets keep the flag – its a good one, and another thing we can tell the Aussies we beat them at :-)

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  32. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “It would be good to have a meaningful flag in the first place. One that is relevant to us now, one that is recognisable and one can be proud of.”

    Are you ever going to say anything with a point, or is it always just going to be this kind of personal and subjective rubbish??

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  33. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    Um, this is where many people post personal and subjective comments quite a lot. It is a blog, not a peer reviewed online publication. Or that’s what I thought, but that’s just my personal subjective opinion. Wait, I can do something that you might recognise:

    Progressives blah blah blah, commies blah blah blah, MSM blah blah blah, attack blah blah blah, another political statement blah blah blah, wishful thinking blah blah blah.

    I’m sure the NZ flag will be changed to something better sometime, I also doubt your small minority views will ever get much traction here. But I’m no more a reincarnation of Nostradamus as I am of Karl Marx.

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  34. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” I also doubt your small minority views will ever get much traction here ”

    Says one who is probably one of the most prolific receivers of negative kharma of anyone posting on Kiwiblog.

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  35. deadrightkev (419 comments) says:

    I like the design and think it is likely to be universally acceptable.

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  36. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Hey, whats wrong with the Southern Cross? Its over our heads all the time and distinctly NZ. The colours are fine also. All you need to do is to get rid of the UK flag in the corner.

    Please whats the obsession with black? Its good for a pirate flag but really boring otherwise.

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  37. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    any change to this;

    http://www.doreebonner.co.uk/upload/images/dbi_flag_newzealand.gif

    …will involve more disproportionate maori consultation, ….so sorry, whilst that bullshit continues I don’t support any change to the real NZ flag

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  38. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    The silver fern was chosen as an emblem by the Maori captain of the New Zealand Natives rugby team in 1888, Joe Warbrick.

    He chose it because it brought to mind the Maori proverb, “When a warrior dies, another arises; when a fern dies, another arises” – an apt motto for a game based on men supporting each other, and not a bad justification for a national symbol either.

    It’s thought he chose the colour black because it was the colour that best showed off the fern.

    So there’s certainly a Maori link to the black and silver. But that said, I don’t think overtly Maori designs have any more place on a national flag than overtly British ones.

    The point of a silver fern flag, as with the maple leaf flag in Canada, is that it’s non-racial and non-imperial and can represent all New Zealanders.

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  39. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Personally I like the Hundertwasser Koru flag way more. Yes it was designed by a foreign born Austrian. But he loved NZ enough to come and live here and be buried here. And he was a world class artist. But I don’t think it will ever happen. I’ve only become aware of it in the last few years, but apparently it was a mainstay for aging hippies (!), and it is declining in popularity as they die off.

    http://flagspot.net/flags/nz!.html

    I know it’s traditional, but I don’t like a flag that is all black, it looks like a pirate flag to me.

    I am really in favour of changing the flag, but am terrified it will be changed to something horrible. I guess this is one of the biggest obstacles to change.

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  40. Rod (236 comments) says:

    Why the obsession with the silver fern? I think the significance is far too obscure and hard to explain to NZers, let alone the international audience.

    There are also two very significant negative associations with the proposal – the black pirate flag look (flying on our Navy ships??) and the resemblance to the white feather that traditionally symbolises cowardise (flying on our Army bases??). My father wore the Silver Fern as part of a hat badge in the Army in WW2 and commented later that the white feather association often came up overseas. OK, so maybe we eventually get to figure it out in NZ … but how do we explain these issues away to the rest of the world every time we fly our flag?

    Leave it to the All Blacks. Its their symbol and colours, and their history, after all. NZers recognise the idea behind the design, and give it respect, because we associate it with the All Blacks. That doesn’t mean it should also become our national flag. After all, the All Blacks are now a commercial venture operating internationally. Stealing their “look” as our national flag is a bit of a cheap shot, I feel.

    From a design point of view, the fern graphics detail is quite well executed, but the silver stripes on the edges will vanish when seen from the distance, leaving just a skinny black flag looking as though it is flying not quite at the top of the flag pole. It simply doesn’t work as a flag design.

    As to the kiwi alternative – well, it has its place, but do we really want to be represented to the world by a flightless nocturnal bird in danger of extinction? And lets face it, the shoe polish guys beat us to that logo on the international scene years ago.

    This all looks to be yet another push for a change to the flag that has not quite gone far enough to start a movement in support. Big ask, I know, but what’s the rush to go with something that doesn’t improve significantly on what we have?

    The Canadians had issues with French separatism and the Union Jack when they changed their flag. I doubt we are under comparable pressures to change our flag here, but our ties to the Union Jack are getting weaker every year. The time for political change will come, and that is when we should be looking for a new flag to represent those changes. Hopefully we will have moved on from the All Blacks look by then, or John Key might be getting a cease and desist letter from their lawyers.

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  41. Seán (397 comments) says:

    DPF said: “Hopefully we’ll look back one day also, and wonder why it took so long to swap, and why didn’t we do it earlier.”
    – absolutely. It just beggars belief that we still have the one now. So colonial.

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  42. Brian Smaller (4,038 comments) says:

    And for those who want to put a kiwi on our flag, bear in mind that a large number of Canadians wanted their flag to feature a beaver.

    I think Larry Flynt copyrighted the beaver flag so they couldn’t use it.

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  43. Flashman (184 comments) says:

    A $20,000 white feather stunt.

    Yeah that’s a real insight into a jafaland Monday morning ad agency creative session. Presumably they write it with with the right hand and think of it with the left.

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  44. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    The “fern” is not a flag, its an insignia. If you can’t tell the difference then I’m sure as shit not really interested in having you screw with nations political system.

    Its also time for this tyranical minority to acknowledge the reality that they are not trying to change something, they are seeking to take something away from the majority. The Maori seperatists have demonstrated that any bunch of self interested bunch of layabouts can have their own flag and evidently legal and social welafre systems, so off you go and get your own republican flag just leave the New Zealand Ensign for the majority of us… oh no wait thats not going to work for you is. You don’t even give a crap what its changed TO as long as you get to take an important symbol away from other people.

    And who the fuck is John Ansell to tell the rest of us what flag is ours anyway? The entire change the flag and rebuplican squealing attention seeking bunch are a tiny minority who think that having a pissant degree of celedbrity status make their opinions more immportant than everyone elses.

    When you can show the country numbers, not a few names, you might be ready for discussion at the bigs boys table.

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  45. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    I’m just someone doing his best to express his opinion, Murray, like you (though perhaps not as mean-spirited).

    You may not agree with what I say, but I’m sure as a democrat you’d fight to the death to defend my right to say it :-).

    There are certainly better ways to court popularity among conservatives than trying to change the flag.

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  46. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    John has the balls to actively promote what he believes in, he has put a lot of effort into it over a period of time. Good on him.

    rebuplican squealing attention seeking bunch are a tiny minority

    43% of those surveyed in the poll stated they wanted New Zealand to become a republic, and did not want Prince Charles to become New Zealand’s head of State when the Queen’s reign ends. 45% supported Charles as King, with 13% stating they wouldn’t answer or didn’t know.

    This poll comes after a Research New Zealand Poll in December 2008 found 42% of New Zealanders supported a republic, while 48% supported the monarchy.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0904/S00176.htm (April 09)

    Current Stuff poll: Do you think the monarchy is still relevant in New Zealand?
    Yes 54.4
    No 45.6

    Hardly a tiny minority. Just a matter of time, as younger demographics replace the older royalists.

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  47. somewhatthoughtful (462 comments) says:

    if our flag changes to that i’m leaving. typical examples of high-brow middle class bogans who refuse to acknowledge their boganism

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  48. Brian Smaller (4,038 comments) says:

    Well I am a conservative, and I want the flag changed. I like the Silver Fern flag. Go for it John.

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  49. Brian Smaller (4,038 comments) says:

    Saying that – I quite like the idea of a beaver on ours too.

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  50. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    I think you like the idea of a beaver on anything.

    A strong plus for the silver fern on black background is it is distinctive. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t “understand” it. I don’t understand the meaning of most other flags, they are mainly for identification and recognition, not for telling a story.

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  51. RRM (9,774 comments) says:

    The old Canadian flag is a fussy, messy POS and does not bear comparison with our glorious national flag.

    Also my usual comment that I AM NOT THE ALL BLACKS…

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  52. Fletch (6,251 comments) says:

    Pete, and yet on a poll on the Herald website yesterday that asked, “Should Prince William be New Zealand’s future King?” –

    63% – Yes
    2% – no, another Royal
    35% – No

    You can’t have a King without having a monarchy, so, 65% of voters still want one.

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  53. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Try the poll again with Prince Charles! Are people forgetting he’s likely to be King for 10-20 years before William gets a run?

    If the Queen and Prince Charles live as long as the Queen Mother (and why not with all the medical advances?), it will be about 2050 before we see a King William.

    Many of those people are probably voting to have William jump the queue.

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  54. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    That’s a nonsense poll Fletch. According to it hardly anyone wants Charles to be king – so does that mean they want to become a republic when the queen dies, and then change back to monarchy when William gets his turn?

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  55. big bruv (13,702 comments) says:

    John

    Seems that there are already a few of your republican mates who are trying to kill off William well before his time by feeding him that god awful Hangi crap.

    Why do Kiwis keep pushing this inedible food on our visitors?

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  56. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Flags are emotive issues. The designer of the new Canadian one got death threats. But threats to life aside, it’s a healthy discussion to have.

    What this thread shows is that it excites the full spectrum of opinions and that the only way we’d get a change is for a brave politician to lead the charge with a bold design.

    In Canada they had PM Lester Pearson, who campaigned on the issue and promised to change the flag within two years of the election. He kept his promise, despite being abused by audiences of war vets (and this was only 20 years after the end of WWII).

    They had the same kind of acrimonious debate as we’re having on this thread, and it was only when Pearson invoked closure (I forget the exact term) in a Parliamentary debate that the issue was settled.

    Luckily for Canada, the man had some taste and opted for flora over fauna (the maple leaf over the beaver).

    Unlike Oregon http://johnansell.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/how-to-compromise-your-flag/

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  57. OTGO (538 comments) says:

    I went to a car race meeting at Hampton Downs yesterday and every race was started with the NZ flag. Looked great. Leave the damn flag alone. In fact I’m going out to buy one to fly at work as soon as I can get the flagpole up.

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  58. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    Looks like an attempt to prevent William from having a successor too…

    At Eden Park he threw a ball with a group of 10-year-olds whose main ambition was to land a pass in the Royal nether regions when he wasn’t looking. They succeeded, eliciting a gasp from the Prince. “We got him in the Crown Jewels!” exclaimed the guilty party,

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article6991357.ece

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  59. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    I’m not a republican particularly, big bruv. Neither are the Canadians 45 years after changing their flag.

    I think having a head of state in London in this day and age is faintly ludicrous, but then so much to do with being British-descended is ludicrous – like a language in which the same word can mean both a gorilla and the Archbishop of Canterbury (primate).

    It’s all part of descending from the same race that invented cricket. The only thing to do is embrace it and laugh. And I do laugh at the Queen’s haughty accent, much to the annoyance of my mother.

    But what to replace her with? Who on earth would we elect as president? And will our Supreme Court judges be better than the Privy Council? Judging by their new accommodation (possibly the second ugliest official building in the world next to the Scottish Parliament), I doubt it.

    Let’s not confuse the flag and republicanism. They’re two separate issues.

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  60. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    The question is not really what the design of any proposed new flag should be. In the first place the debate, if there is going to be one, should be on whether a flag change is necessary. I request John Ansell to list three good reasons for changing the flag.

    Please, if you are able, refrain from using Pete Georgeesque subjectiive rubbish like “I think”, or “this would be good” or “this is necessary, or “the majority think this”.

    Just give three good fact based unemotive reasons that demonstrate why a flag change is necessary.

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  61. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Jezuz Christ- how often do I need to check back for an answer to that question??

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  62. Fentex (920 comments) says:

    One obvious reason for a new flag is that the main purpose of a flag is identification. New Zealands flag is indistinguishable for most people from Australias and fails spectacularly at it’s primary purpose.

    That’s because it’s purpose was to identify New Zealand as a part of British property which is no longer really true.

    New Zealands flag is nothing but a British Ensign and represents the past. New Zealand can no longer be assumed to hold similar positions as Britain.

    Suppose NZ troops are abroard, if identified by a British ensign any foreign national could be forgiven for thinking New Zealanders supported the same offensive foreign policies and positions, which we don’t.

    If New Zealand were to supply resources, for example, to rebuild damaged infrastructure in a war torn land we should not like our reprersentatives to be thought, because of their insignia (derived from our flag) the perpetrators of the criminal damage they have attended to repair because of it’s similarity to the flag of an aggressor.

    Britains and New Zealands interests are now divergent. That began to be a serious rift when the U.K joined the E.U. It’s a natural progression and not to be wished away, but no one can honestly pretend that there’s joined interests suitably represented by similar symbols.

    Personally I don’t like the Silver Fern as a flag – it’s too busy and detailed for heraldric purposes. A flag needs to be simple and able to be approximated quickly by anyone with limited materials. Neither do I like Balck as a background – it fails to serve a flags purpose of identification – would it be dark for it;s colour or because of the twilight?

    A flag needs bold patterns that resolve at distance and high contrast, with light enough colours to identify in twilight.
    I much prefer some variation on a Koru – horizontal blue ‘sky’ with a white Koru ‘wave’ perhaps.

    I agree Republicanism and a new flag don’t have to go hand in hand (though it seems obvious a Republic demands a new flag). Personally I think the appropriate timing for a Republic would be between Elizabeths passing and the coronation of the U.K’s next monarch.

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  63. Fentex (920 comments) says:

    And while I’m on the subject – the silver Fern in some forms is a trademarked symbol of sporting corporations.

    I do not like the impression of submission to a narrow trench of interests or binding of New Zealand identity to a simple stereotype of sport supporters.

    It would be a new flag making a new statement. Choose a new design.

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  64. Dave Mann (1,204 comments) says:

    I am in favour of changing the flag to one which more accurately reflects the country which we have today….. but think that the siver fern (which would come out grey) is not appropriate because it is more connected with sports. Also, black is boring, funereal and would fade on a flag in the sun to dirty grey. Yuk.

    Also…. we are known worldwide as KIWIS, FFS! So why not have the stylised kiwi drawing thingy which I think was designed for the kiwi-made campaign some years ago on a green, white and blue vertical tri-colour?

    If there were copyright issues with the stylised kiwi, then I think the original designer might be thrilled and honoured to have their design used…. we only have to ask and see what they say.

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  65. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Redbaiter: “I request John Ansell to list three good reasons for changing the flag.”

    OK Red, how’s this (not that it’ll make the slightest difference I suspect, since flags are about emotion, not logic):

    1. National pride.

    New Zealanders will feel better about themselves if they have a flag that reflects their country – not their region or their hemisphere or the birth country of a dwindling majority of their grandparents.

    During the British Empire, our parents and grandparents saw themselves as British. They called Britain ‘home’. It was fair enough that they wanted to look like a member of that club.

    (I’ll shortly be posting all the blue ensign flags of British colonies. There are so many it’s taken days, and literally made my cutting and pasting fingers numb.)

    In the 21st century the Commonwealth is no longer British. It no longer includes the word British. Only 16 of its 73 members retain any Britishness on their flags.

    They are Australia, New Zealand, the UK and 13 tiddlers.

    (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Falkland Islands, Monserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena & Dependencies, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, Tuvalu.)

    2. National unity.

    I’m raising this issue now because we’re flying two flags on Waitangi Day.

    Despite being unfairly branded a racist for my Iwi/Kiwi billboard, I have no problem with Maori flying their own flag. (I just happen to think a version of Jeffy James’s flag would be a better and more respectful choice than the Maori sovereignty option – but they were steamrolled into choosing Hone’s flag, with no real choice.)

    http://johnansell.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/maori-should-fly-this-flag/

    But a better choice still would be if Maori, British, Irish, Chinese, Indian, Samoan, Somali and all other New Zealanders felt happy to fly one flag – not one imperial flag and one racial flag.

    And as I’ve said before, those who believe it’s important to have Maori represented on the flag can take comfort that the silver fern was chosen by the Maori captain of the New Zealand Natives rugby team after a Maori proverb:

    “Mate atu he toa ara mai he toa.”
    “When one warrior dies, another arises.”

    “Mate atu he tetakura ara mai he tetakura.”
    “When one fern dies, another arises.”

    3. National identification.

    Yes, the dreaded word branding.

    Why not have a flag that can also serve the country as a logo? Canada’s does. Japan’s does. Switzerland’s does. The Union Jack does. Most other countries don’t, because their flags aren’t recognisable enough.

    Much as many people here seem to hate the All Blacks, the fact remains that we have in this country one of the great sporting brands of the world. There’s no logic in rejecting the silver fern and the colour black just because they started life as a sporting emblem.

    So does that change your mind Red? Nah, thought not :-)

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  66. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” New Zealanders will feel better about themselves if they have a flag that reflects their country ”

    I think I “feel” quite OK ‘about myself’ thank you. What flag we have has no bearing on “how I feel about myself” (whatever the damn hell that really means), and I am definitely not troubled in anyway by the present flag. I am though bothered by the move to change it.

    ” I have no problem with Maori flying their own flag. ”

    I do. I consider it an emblem of separatism flown by separatists. Please don’t kid yourself that a new flag will neutralize the separatists. I find the present flag unifying enough. If people like you shut up, there wouldn’t be any disunity over the flag.

    “Why not have a flag that can also serve the country as a logo? Canada’s does.”

    Why not just keep the present flag? And I don’t give a damn what Canada does. Canada is ruled by complete idiots. (I lived there for a few years)

    ” So does that change your mind Red? Nah, thought not”

    You thought right. Thanks for responding though.

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  67. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Good response John, spot on. Particularly #3 – National Identification. I think to the Swiss with their instantly recognisable white cross on red background. Aside from their flag, their passports have the same, as does their national airline. Then there are the souvenir coffee mugs, wallets and t-shirts. The detractors will try to write this off as a corporate logo, but branding applies to nations as well. And branding is not just about recognition, but about what is being represented. What comes to mind when we see that Swiss brand? What do we want come to peoples’ minds when they see a (instantly recognisable) NZ brand?

    Fentex gives a good reason for change also with his discussion of the implications of the Union Jack in the top corner.

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  68. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    I find the present flag unifying enough. If people like you shut up, there wouldn’t be any disunity over the flag.

    Yes John, shut up and unite behind the Red flag.

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  69. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Well it’s been fun.

    We’ll get a new flag when a politician like Canada’s Lester Pearson has the courage to lead the charge. I haven’t canvassed our politicians, so you never know. Keith Locke seems the most likely, which would be hugely ironic given that it’s about the only thing we’d agree on.

    Until then, we should keep putting up options.

    Logical argument certainly has little effect when feelings are so deeply felt. Talking to a conservative about changing the flag is no different from talking to a lefty about climate change.

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  70. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    How’d this work out?

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