BY ALEX CROUCH
After celebrating their national institution’s Rugby Union World Cup triumph last month, New Zealanders are now deciding what flag their beloved All Blacks will play under when they defend their crown.
The people of New Zealand have just begun voting in a referendum to once and for all decide whether or not to change their national flag.
This referendum’s first round will see five potential new designs whittled down to one, which will go head-to-head against the current flag in the second round next March.
The question on the ballot paper is: “If the New Zealand flag changes, which flag would you prefer?”
The five candidates in the running, decided by the Flag Consideration Panel, are:
Alofi Kanter’s black and white Silver Fern design. It’s modelled on the traditional Silver Fern symbol for the All Blacks, but the colours have been counterchanged. One of the main arguments against this type of design is that it leans too heavily towards New Zealand sport and doesn’t reflect the country as a whole.
Kyle Lockwood has two designs on the ballot paper and are somewhat similar to the current flag.
Both feature the Silver Fern above four red starts in the shape of the Southern Cross on a dark blue background. The only difference is one flag has red above the fern and the other has black. The red design dates back to 2004, and even beat the current flag in a 2005 poll conducted by TV3. The black design is reportedly New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s favourite. But could two extremely similar designs take votes off each other or stack the deck in their favour?
These four designs made up the original shortlist. But following heavy criticism from the public, professional designers and even the International Congress of Vexillology for the designs being: unappealing, clichéd, dull, too logo-like and too similar, one more flag was added.
New Zealanders will be able to see their potential new flag in ‘real-life situations’ over the course of the next few weeks. Free sets of flags are being distributed to communities so people can see them on display.
These five designs were chosen from a list of 40 back in August. Those 40 were chosen from over 10,000 submissions to the Flag Consideration Panel.
The first round of the referendum concludes on 11th December.
Current polls indicate the current flag will remain.
Alex Crouch is a 2014 journalism graduate from Southampton Solent University. He has followed Formula One since before he started infant school, was a Games Maker during the London Paralympics and saw Pink Floyd reunite for one song at The O2 in London. Links: Twitter, blog, YouTube. Alex is an accredited Flag Institute journalist.