The best of both flags?

 These two designs have together received 52% of votes in my flag poll

So why not put them together? 

Now we have four traditional New Zealand icons in the one flag: the Southern Cross; the colour black; the Maori colours of red, black and white; and the silver fern.

If you voted for one of the top two flags, do you think this one’s better or worse?

Thanks to friend and reader Maygrove for suggesting this combo – which I happened to have on standby as one of my 135 rejects.

Now, as I did with the blue flag on the last post, here are the same three alternative star arrangements – plus my pictorial inspiration for this design…


Variant 1: angled stars close to fern.

Variant 2: upright stars close to fern.

Variant 3: upright Southern Cross layout.

As I’ve said before, my goal is not to come up with a wildly original flag. A great flag should be the most beautiful refinement of the obvious.

Below is my inspiration for the design you see above: the crown issued to commemorate King George VI’s Royal Tour of 1949.

What’s that – there was no Royal Tour of 1949? That’s right, the crown came out, but the king didn’t.

I hope I’ve done justice to this design now, even though neither the blue nor black version of the Southern Cross design is my personal favourite.

To me, New Zealand’s new flag should be just that. New. Not half-old, half-new. Like Canada, we should have the confidence to make a bold, fresh statement of our independent spirit.

A flag that retains the British blue and the Southern Cross is like a Declaration of Semi-Dependence. We wouldn’t sign one – why fly one?

Anyway, tell me what you think.

In coming posts, I’ll show how the fern has evolved over the last 126 years,  using samples from my ballooning file of over 100 published designs.

(Most of these are ghastly, by the way – I like about three!)

I want to show you two more refinements of my original six flags – including the design I believe should be our new flag.

Stay tuned.


8 thoughts on “The best of both flags?

  1. I prefer the blue background to the black and would like to see the Union Jack in a corner.

    We’re not going to agree pdm, but thanks for taking the trouble to write.

    Seems to me one’s choice of flag is an emotive issue, and while it’s fun to support one’s choice with reasons, it’s not an issue where rational argument can really cut much ice.

  2. I like the slanted’offset stars against the black and it is probably the best I have seen. I also like the so called’maori flag’ with the Koru design. My preference is the sliver fern against black. As for the other colours – what is the national colour BLACK. The problme is that the anti sport people think that Black and the Fern relates to sport only.

    Thanks wayne. I think Maori chose the wrong flag, both on political and aesthetic grounds. If they’d been offered Jeffy James’s koru-with-Southern-Cross design, I suspect they would have chosen it. I’ll post on it some time.

    You’re dead right about the anti-sport set. We need to remind them that the fern comes from our native bush, and black was chosen (by Maori) simply as the colour that best sets off the white.

  3. I have gradually given up watching all rugby, except international sevens and the All Blacks.

    @wayne, you need to know that the All Blacks are one of the biggest brands in the sporting world. Even Germany wants to host a game between the All Blacks and some decent opposition (as have Hong Kong and Tokyo lately)!

    While black was not my first choice for a flag, I’d prefer it over blue. And a new flag should definitely not have a union jack. (Not fussed about orientation of stars)

    I think you’ve misinterpreted wayne’s comment, David. He likes black, but worries that non-sports fans think it’s a sports-only colour.

  4. Hmm, I’m a little late to this forum, as it’s now 2011. Still, I feel compelled to comment having just come across your flag design in a google search. I like it! I am one of the typical non-sporto more bohemian types you speak of and I love it. I like that it covers all 3 bases. It has the colours of the Tino rangatiratanga flag representing Maori, it has the southern cross reference to our current (colonial history) flag and it has the silver fern which we all (whether sporto’s or not) affiliate with. You guys should put it forward to the nzflag website. The design they are putting forward is pretty awful. It has a very 2000’s company branding feel to it. In other words it would suit NZ Transport Agency or Silver Fern Farms etc, but not the people of NZ. That’s my 2 cents!

  5. Also Variant 3: upright Southern Cross layout. if you take out the bottom star then that to me would be a nice representive of the North,South and Stewart Island like the coin above but take out bottom star,

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