New Zealand Companies in Australia | Trans Tasman | Uncategorized

Warning – Australian opinion on NZ flags


First published in New Zealand Herald 11 August 2015 

I was very tempted not to write this week’s column about the New Zealand flag debate, which is either a really big deal or a non-event, depending on totally subjective beliefs.

I imagine that this topic has been discussed by numerous Kiwi commentators and every opinion has been covered.

Is there room for one more?

In reading different opinions on this debate, I noticed that late last year an Australian commentator, Tom Burton – Head of the Flags Society of Australia – was either feeling very game or had no idea his comment would make the Kiwi papers, as he remarked that the favoured black flag with silver fern was reminiscent of Islamic State’s own flag.

His opinion went down as expected in comments left by Kiwis. Comments by Australians on New Zealand themes tend to have that effect.

This entire debate feels to me a little like the logo debate that companies love to have. Should we change our logo? Is anyone else sick of our logo? Shouldn’t the logo be bigger? Can we move the logo a little to the left?

Ask any graphic designer and they’ll tell you that designing logos and identities is often their favourite type of work. As long as client subcommittees and extended stakeholder networks are left out of the decision-making.

Well how fun is this little logo project! An entire country gets to say “Hmm. I (don’t) like it, but wouldn’t it be nicer with a slightly deeper (lighter) shade of blue (green/red/grey)?”

Logos and identities are always fun to look at. That’s why so many companies with long histories and logos etched in people’s minds often get sucked into the buzz of a total rebrand.

I’ve lived outside of New Zealand for a long time now, long enough to no longer vote there as I don’t know enough about the people running. Also it doesn’t seem right for me to vote in a country I don’t live in. So, I feel like I’ve missed the ‘mood of the nation’ in regards to this flag changing.

Do New Zealanders genuinely want to change the New Zealand flag or is it primarily momentum driving this?

Call me old fashioned, but I have absolutely no issue with the current New Zealand flag. In fact I love the New Zealand flag. I have an extremely vivid memory of waving my New Zealand flag with total excitement in 1983 when Princess Diana and Prince Charles came to Eden Park Stadium.

I have no issue with the Union Jack on our flag. I have no issue with the fact that it’s almost identical to the Australian flag.

That beautiful New Zealand I grew up in that was progressive, inclusive and connected to the environment. You know, all those same qualities the new flag is meant to represent.

Doesn’t our current flag already represent all this because that’s what New Zealand stands for?

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