The Flag Consideration Project
August 10, 2015 5:42 AM   Subscribe

New Zealand is considering a new national flag design. The Flag Consideration Project recently published the group of forty flags which made the long list from more than 10000 subscriptions. The official website also has resources on what makes a good flag design; and presents the results of public polling on "What New Zealand stands for." posted by seyirci (83 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nooooooooooo.
posted by Mezentian at 5:50 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just came back from a trip to Vienna's Hundertwasserhaus, which included a chance to read about his proposal for a new flag for New Zealand. (From the link on that page, you can download a PDF containing his manifesto, part of which is also here.) So cool to see how his design is reflected in the proposals.
posted by girlpublisher at 5:55 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The White Tree of Gondor would look better than the swirly swirls.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:55 AM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Gotta be a rugby ball on there.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:57 AM on August 10, 2015


No kiwi?
posted by Segundus at 5:57 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I quite like Unity Koru (Red & Blue), but The Seven Stars of Matariki is pretty badass.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:57 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am rather sad that Split Enz member Noel Crombie's flag design didn't make the short list. It's delightfully angular and spiky.

Having said that, I am all for NZ ditching the Union Jack and the strong whiff of colonialism in favour of something that reflects NZ itself. I find the Koru a particularly moving symbol, but I am just a random Kiwiphile on the other side of the world and I am hesitant about making suggestions about how NZ should define itself.

PS. "swirly swirls" = powerful symbols to a whole lot of people.
posted by kariebookish at 5:57 AM on August 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


which included a chance to read about his proposal for a new flag for New Zealand.

Pro: it's different
Con: Change.
posted by Mezentian at 5:57 AM on August 10, 2015


Surely all the smart money is on the Silver Fern on a black field.
posted by wilful at 5:58 AM on August 10, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm struck by how similar the 40 designs on the long list are. Was there a mandate to utilize a given set of imagery?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:59 AM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


A New Zealand Boot crushing the Sydney Opera House.

Surely all the smart money is on the Silver Fern on a black field.

Yeah, but where's the fun in that!
posted by eriko at 6:01 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Surely all the smart money is on the Silver Fern on a black field.

Who owns the copyright on that?
posted by Mezentian at 6:03 AM on August 10, 2015


At first I thought the swirls were too modern and designy, but then I found out the koru is an important motif in Maori art. I learned something today.

But surely if New Zealand wanted to strike fear into the hearts of other nations, they'd put a wetapunga on the flag.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:03 AM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Koru is a nice idea and a unique image for a flag, but all the proposals using it look like someone tried to kinda-sorta draw a spiral in Illustrator without bothering to make the curves nice and smooth.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:05 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


But surely if New Zealand wanted to strike fear into the hearts of other nations,

Have you met New Zealanders?
posted by Mezentian at 6:06 AM on August 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


I particularly like flagtest.nz, which provides javascript models of the prospective flags flapping in the wind.
posted by zamboni at 6:12 AM on August 10, 2015 [16 favorites]


Yay, vexillology MetaFilter is the best MetaFilter!

I like the koru paired with the Southern Cross. It's the one that seems the least like a corporate logo.
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:15 AM on August 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


The flagtest site is fun. What is now some throwaway javascript used to be a massive CGI undertaking not long ago.
posted by Harald74 at 6:18 AM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm sure the white fern/black field will win, but I wish a kiwi (fruit or bird) had at least made the cut.

But then again in my (albeit limited) experience, you see a whole lot more sheep in NZ than kiwis, or ferns really. A sheep standing under a volcano would actually be kind of a neat flag. And kids would like to draw it. After all, as they wrote, "a great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory."
posted by tempestuoso at 6:19 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dammit, I didn't make the long list.
posted by dgaicun at 6:20 AM on August 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


Silver Fern on a Black Field is trademarked by the All Blacks. And it could get us mistaken for ISIS, so that's out.

Fact is, the best flag would be a variation on the Tino Rangatiratanga one, but it's associated with Maori protests so it's too controversial for the current right-wing National Party government. And it's got way too much black on it, half of it's invisible at night. I really don't understand why so many of the designs are black, it's insane.

The whole exercise is depressing to me anyway. The first public meeting for the Flag Consideration panel was a joke, with members of the govt appointed panel literally outnumbering members of the public. There's no reason to change the flag other than creating a legacy for Prime Minister John Key, and he's spending $26 million when everyone else is being told to tighten their belts.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 6:23 AM on August 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


> I am just a random Kiwiphile on the other side of the world and I am hesitant about making suggestions about how NZ should define itself.

Based on my Kiwi friends, it sounds like you'd fit right in.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:33 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Koru would be a good idea but it would be hell to simplify or to draw accurately (same reason I'm all for ditching the portuguese flag in favor of a blue/green middle split with white escutcheons on the top left corner).

I'd probably pick the "Southern Cross Horizon", only in other color or the "New Southern Cross". However, I very much doubt they won't pick the silver fern.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:36 AM on August 10, 2015


I'd probably pick the "Southern Cross Horizon", only in other color or the "New Southern Cross". However, I very much doubt they won't pick the silver fern.

The Koru is a nice idea, but you're wrong that some of those are hard to draw. I think Koru Fin works okay as something that incorporates the motif while being able to be drawn. New Southern Cross is nice, but it's not hugely different. All you'd really be doing is taking away the Union Flag in the canton, which is fine if the people of New Zealand want to do that, but not hugely exciting as an flag enthusiast.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:43 AM on August 10, 2015


No idea why it's not all black. That way you cater to rugby fans and Spinal Tap fans simultaneously.
posted by ardgedee at 6:44 AM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Make the fern twice as big and add a drop shadow. Done.
posted by oulipian at 6:45 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why is it that every single time you put a logo to a public vote everyone settles on the spiral as the least-bad option?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 6:46 AM on August 10, 2015


The original flag is still in the running, though. That might be hard to shift - anyone seen any, ahem, flag polls?
posted by Devonian at 6:46 AM on August 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


New Southern Cross is nice, but it's not hugely different.

It also looks too much like the Micronesian flag.
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:48 AM on August 10, 2015


Aha. Flag polls at the bottom of the Wikipedia article on the whole affair. Not a done deal, by the looks of it.
posted by Devonian at 6:54 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not a Kiwi, but if I was I'd vote for the one with the curly Union Jack.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:11 AM on August 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


While a lot of these look like something you'd expect to see painted on the tail of a commuter airliner, this one looks surprisingly good flapping in the wind. A bit busy perhaps, but with a nod in all cultural and historical directions and definitely flag-like...
posted by jim in austin at 7:17 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was rather hoping that my suggestion of the Tricolore set off with a raised middle finger was one of the choices.
posted by mattoxic at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


A New Zealand Boot crushing the Sydney Opera House.

Surely you mean a jandle.
posted by mattoxic at 7:28 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


A Thousand Baited Hooks: "I'm not a Kiwi, but if I was I'd vote for the one with the curly Union Jack."

Yeah that's pretty badass. I also like Tukutuku - it looks like a flag, yet but is completely original at the same time. Koru (Blue) is also pretty cool. Most of the designs that try to combine the fern or the koru with the Southern Cross end up too busy. Also, is it me, or are most of these designs a weird aspect ratio for a flag? They seem too long.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:29 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Surely you mean a jandle.

No.
A boot encloses the foot.

Details!
posted by Mezentian at 7:31 AM on August 10, 2015


Irony: The flag with the words "What makes a good flag design" is itself a terrible flag design.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:44 AM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Irony: The flag with the words "What makes a good flag design" is itself a terrible flag design.

Eirōneía — I flagged this comment as "rusty".
posted by Wolof at 8:10 AM on August 10, 2015


New Pepsiland?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 8:12 AM on August 10, 2015


Koru (Blue) is also pretty cool.

I think there are too many ads for surfing companies near me for this one to appeal - they all have stylistic waves breaking logos. I do like the Unity Koru though, new and distinctive as flags go. I also like the tukutuku - very bold.
posted by biffa at 8:22 AM on August 10, 2015


I'm sure the white fern/black field will win, but I wish a kiwi (fruit or bird) had at least made the cut.

By fruit, do you mean the Chinese gooseberry?

(The familiar cultivar, developed in New Zealand in the '20s-'40s, was rebranded as kiwifruit in 1959 only to dodge the high tariffs imposed on berries.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:25 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Big fan of the Wa Kainga, in terms of pure visual appeal. It's got the nice and simple geometry, good colors, and it's easy to draw.
posted by DGStieber at 8:37 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd vote for the The Seven Stars of Matariki with both hands, and if they don't use it can I have it for my roving band of space mercenaries?
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:45 AM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


We need a Metafilter flag. No ideas, other than it being blue...
posted by librosegretti at 8:48 AM on August 10, 2015


Why not follow in the footsteps of your Commonwealth cousins in Canada, and go with something like this?
posted by Kabanos at 8:50 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Today I learned that the spiral has a name "Koru" and meaning, and let me say that given a million years, I never would have guessed that it represented anything other than a wave, let alone a fern unfurling. (I too am surprised by the lack of kiwis in these designs, but I'm on the other side of the world and ignorant, as my first sentence proved.)
posted by Navelgazer at 8:55 AM on August 10, 2015


I'm disappointed laser eyes kiwi didn't make the cut:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/15/new-zealands-new-flag-15-quirky-contenders

The short list is a bit meh... I predict we'll keep the existing flag in the end. I'm not opposed to a new flag but this really feels like John Key's attempt at what passes for a legacy.
posted by piyushnz at 8:55 AM on August 10, 2015


That Tino Rangatiratang flag is great.
posted by kiltedtaco at 8:57 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like the Koru waves and Southern Cross.
posted by Oyéah at 9:00 AM on August 10, 2015


I don't want a koru flag, because then my koru tattoo will be a flag tattoo, and ew.

I like Tukutuku.
posted by gaspode at 9:01 AM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Surely you mean a jandle.

No.
A boot encloses the foot.
What kind of boot? A Wellington.
posted by zamboni at 9:15 AM on August 10, 2015


We need a Metafilter flag. No ideas, other than it being blue...
┌───┐
|[!]│
├───┘
|
Move on.
posted by zamboni at 9:21 AM on August 10, 2015 [43 favorites]


These all look too new. I can understand not wanting to look like a UK satellite but the county's history does extend back to the days before Illustrator and Corel Draw.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:34 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can't they just make the flag a drawing of a hobbit, enclosed by a ring, with an insulation in Quenya?
posted by happyroach at 9:37 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


It also looks too much like the Micronesian flag.

ERRRGH!! The stars are all pointing different directions! That is not how optics works!
posted by aubilenon at 9:40 AM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


1. Flags are funny. We tend to think of them as ancient and unchanging and representative of the entire region, yet most national flags are none of those things.

2. They better fucking incorporate some aboriginal designs in the new flag or I'm shoving a red ensign up some kiwi ass.

3. Then again, flag and flag waving are sort of stupid.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:46 AM on August 10, 2015


Perhaps I should have submitted my design...
posted by jim in austin at 10:11 AM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I nominate taz's design of my old blog...
posted by growabrain at 10:17 AM on August 10, 2015


We tried allowing everyone in the US to vote on a new flag design, but some assholes on the internet gamed the polling... it's a good thing Congress wouldn't sign off on it or we'd currently be waving a red, white and blue Goatse'd Obama logo pooping on the rest of the world. (It also has "such democracy" and "wow" printed on it for some reason)
posted by caution live frogs at 10:23 AM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aesthetically, the current flag looks much nicer and more elegant than any of these - it's main problem is that it looks too similar to the Australian flag.

I dunno, maybe just add a little kiwi or fern silhouette or "NZ" monogram to a corner or something,
posted by Bwithh at 11:22 AM on August 10, 2015


I dunno, maybe just add a little kiwi or fern silhouette or "NZ" monogram to a corner or something,

That would be the world's Preppiest flag.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:41 AM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


No Pepe Kiwi flag :[
posted by gyc at 12:37 PM on August 10, 2015


Let's be clear; this isn't actually going to happen.

The momentum for a new flag is 90% coming from the Prime Minister (perhaps surprisingly, given that he leads a conservative party). The view is he wants it to be part of his legacy. There's a grass roots movement in favour of change, but it's a minority. The people who are more likely to support a change are on the left, but they're not in favour of this idea because of its source. People on the right, who might otherwise support the PM (he's very popular) don't, because they're more naturally conservative and against change.

I will be amazed if there's any vote for change, I don't even think it will be close.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Left would prefer that a new flag marked getting rid of the Monarchy and becoming a Republic. But flag-waving distractions are easier than deep constitutional reforms, so we get a couple of expensive referendums instead.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 2:23 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


ERRRGH!! The stars are all pointing different directions! That is not how optics works!

Maybe not, but it is how negative space works.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:07 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


1. Get rid of union jack.
2. Stop inviting William & Harry over here.
3. Get generic flag that reflects rugby culture, and not much else.
4. Piss off the understandably upset Maori population.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:46 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now: New And Improved Zealand
posted by miyabo at 4:17 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The attempt to drop the Union Jack is basically historical denialism. A way of denying the country's treaty obligations and blaming the whole colonial legacy thing on the British. Whom we're now denying we have anything to do with. "Nah. Not our ancestors! We were never here when all the bad stuff happened. I just count the cows back into the paddock in the evening." Convenient!

Uh. The whole thing just makes me sick. Just another reason I can't go home again. :/
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:26 PM on August 10, 2015




The attempt to drop the Union Jack is basically historical denialism. A way of denying the country's treaty obligations and blaming the whole colonial legacy thing on the British. Whom we're now denying we have anything to do with. "Nah. Not our ancestors! We were never here when all the bad stuff happened. I just count the cows back into the paddock in the evening." Convenient!

That's the oddest interpretation I've ever heard of. Not saying your flat wrong, but I'm not sure it's a widely held view. But what would I know, I'm an Aussie. Along with many of my countryfolk, we want the Union Jack off our canton because we're so very much more than a British dependency, we outgrew that a long time ago. Our colonial legacy and shame is every bit as big as yours (and very much shared of course), getting rid of the anachronism is the opposite of denailism taht it all happened.

And I want NZ to change it's flag because it will empower movements to change our flag! If our favourite little brother can do it, why can't we?
posted by wilful at 4:53 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd vote for the The Seven Stars of Matariki with both hands

A buttoned Mefite's husband designed that one. Quoth the husband: "YES!"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:54 PM on August 10, 2015


Yeah we dropped the UJ from the Canadian flag in 1967, not a denial, an assertion of independent identity.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:57 PM on August 10, 2015


The Tino Rangatiratanga flag looks better than almost all of these, IMHO. Plus it would address Sonny Jim's and hal_c_on's comments - hard to argue that the government is ignoring Treaty responsibilities or the Crown-Maori relationship if that was our flag. And it would annoy all the right people. Of the 40, the Matariki one is definitely one of the better options.

(I'm not sure I agree with SJ that flag change = historical denialism. I would have thought that the people most keen to hang on to the old flag would also be somewhat more likely to deny the negative effects of colonialism...).
posted by Pink Frost at 5:25 PM on August 10, 2015


Here is some good commentary from The Pencilsword (which is generally excellent, btw).
posted by jzed at 5:58 PM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have no real connection to New Zealand other than greatly admiring the country from the other side of the globe, but I have to say that I find the current flag lovely and would be sad to see it go.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:08 PM on August 10, 2015


Many of the designs remind me of this.
posted by eye of newt at 7:51 PM on August 10, 2015


I do hope the selection committee realizes to properly evaluate a government flag, it has to be shown indoors, hanging limp from a vertical staff, unless that's not a thing in New Zealand. Any flag that can't be identified in such a situation is a fail, IMHO.
posted by Homer42 at 1:41 AM on August 11, 2015


That's the oddest interpretation I've ever heard of. Not saying your flat wrong, but I'm not sure it's a widely held view. But what would I know, I'm an Aussie. Along with many of my countryfolk, we want the Union Jack off our canton because we're so very much more than a British dependency, we outgrew that a long time ago.
OK: fair enough. What I wrote was a bit gnomic, and maybe needs specific bits of context sketched in to make sense. My basic point is this. The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi was a document with two sets of partners: a group of Maori leaders and the British Crown. Maori (understandably) have traditionally been suspicious of Pakeha enthusiasm for setting up a republic on the grounds that "we outgrew all that colonial stuff years ago," because it takes away one of those partners. What's the relationship exactly between the "new" state and the old? Will the "new" state still recognize the treaty responsibilities entered into in 1840? Moves to get rid of the Union Jack component of the flag are, for me, inextricably bound up with the "move on; we're a different people now!" rhetoric that underpins republicanism and I'm suspicious of them on those grounds. And also because I loath and detest Key and all he stands for, I guess.

It's tricky. Statements that sound like good liberal or progressive discourse—"We're a multicultural society!"/"We have outgrown our colonial legacy and are a confident new people now!"—can actually be right-wing dog-whistles in a New Zealand context, and it's a little hard to pick those up from an external perspective.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:51 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Let's be clear; this isn't actually going to happen.

A lot of people seem to think this way, but one thing that I find can really sway some individuals is some evidence on how easy it would be to adopt a new flag. What was quite convincing to me is a simple look at other changed flags from the Commonwealth. Personally I was surprised when I realised how recently Canada changed theirs, but really none of the "old" flags are even recognisable to me.

Sure there's the cost of the referendum etc., but it's really not such a profound change to the country that we need to proceed with such caution or fear of change...
posted by Metro Gnome at 11:12 PM on August 11, 2015


All this fuss over the Union flag motif is amusing to me. Because of course there exists an island republic where the native language is very similar to Maori that still has a Union flag, despite never having been a part of the Empire or the Commonwealth.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 6:27 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I didn't find this very funny, thought it was kinda dumb and parochial, but here it is anyway, some Aussie wit's go at new NZ flags.
posted by wilful at 9:37 PM on August 12, 2015


Let's be clear; this isn't actually going to happen.

Decent designs, in NZ (which not only has a treaty with the "natives" but has changed how places are named because of the maori language), proposed by a conservative government, which will make it look nothing like Australia?

I will take that bet.
posted by Mezentian at 8:31 AM on August 14, 2015




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