New Zealand Seeking an Emblem

Tim Kerr sent us his essay regarding New Zealand’s flag change referendums, Seeking an Emblem: Observations on the Tradition of the New Zealand Ensign. Though we are not endorsing it nor verifying its accuracy, it is interesting and timely so we are republishing it here for general vexillological discussion.


About the author

Tim Kerr has written articles for a number of travel and recreation magazines and has occasionally contributed articles to New Zealand Memories. He edits a regular newsletter for the Canterbury Branch of the NZ Shareholders’ Association.

Tim states he had no particular feelings towards national flags and despises the chauvinism associated with national ensigns. However, he strongly believes the silver fern (or white feather) replacements for the current New Zealand ensign are unworkable and will soon date. He feels the fifth suggestion is technically OK, but a bit pointless – the symbolism utterly lost on non-Kiwis. He also feels the little black flag with the so-called silver fern is pretty good – for supporting national sports teams, but not as an ensign.

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Author: SDM

Ethnography * Technology * Design

1 thought on “New Zealand Seeking an Emblem”

  1. I am not sure I agree on the definition of a flag/ensign/logo, but that is not really the point I want to make. It is indeed very true that Kiwis didn’t pick a proper flag/ensign. It should be made clear in the mind of any designer that a national flag should only be made of rectangles/circles/stars (5-pointed preferably), maybe crescent but nothing much else. The challenge for designers is to give a great meaning to those simple geometrical figures. My advice to kiwis is not to vote for that new design. One day the nation will be mature enough to recognize there might be a problem with a colonial-style flag and hopefully there will be more competent and imaginative folks to design a good ensign…

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