Kiwis. Trust us to take the piss out of something until it’s too late to turn back. Once we’re past the point of no return we all of a sudden know exactly what we want and it’s the complete opposite to what’s been decided. And it’s then that we rise up, a mass of solidarity and sudden patriotism, which lasts for how ever few hours, days, weeks we can muster before we become tired and drop back into apathy again.
I’m referring of course to the flag.
When John Key first began pushing for a flag change we all rolled our eyes. Surely there were bigger fish to fry? As coverage continued we just got fed up until we found our outlet in turning the whole thing into a farce. But now, as the top four designs have been picked by a “panel of experts” *cough John Key cough* we’ve come to the realization that “hey, this flag changing thing is actually quite a good idea. But wait, those are what we have to chose from? Gross!”
So now it’s time to get serious. We’ve got a flag to pick, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be the one the Prime Minister wants.
But what does the Prime Minister want? Let’s take a quick look at the top four we’re supposed to be chosing from:
The rugby logo
Pros: sport, All Blacks, because sport.
Cons: it’s a sports logo.
The hypno flag
Pros: It’ll hypnotize the populace into thinking it’s a good flag.
Cons: Really, there are no cons when it comes to hypnotizing your loyal citizens.
The weetbix box
Pros: The fern and the stars, that’s kiwi right?
Cons: Flags aren’t meant to be a collection of clip-art.
The fern and stars
Pros: Wait, haven’t we already seen this one?
Cons: I’m confused.
Aside from John Key hedging his bets by putting his favourite flag in twice (obvious move is obvious), there’s nothing about this group that makes any kind of impact. They’re bland, corporate and just a hasty mash of what the designers seem to think “being a New Zealander” is all about. Why can’t we seem to get anything right??
So what do we do? Change for the sake of changing? I was all for a change, for moving on from our colonial past and embracing the many cultures who inhabit our land, specifically Maori who are the true Tangata Whenua and have the biggest claim to being represented on our flag than any other group (goodness knows they’ve been marginalized and underrepresented long enough). I just didn’t envision it like this.
But in true kiwi fashion, in the final minutes as all hope seems lost, we’ve found an underdog to rally around. And the name of this underdog is Red Peak.
Red Peak incorporates the past and the present, taking a little of the old flag and mixing it with Maori art and culture. It’s easily identifiable as a flag, and more importantly doesn’t look like a corporate branding mishmash.
To delve a little deeper into the meanings behind this flag you can head over here. But just as a quick sumary it incorporates the land and the sky. The Sky (more specifically the dawn) because New Zealand is the first country to see the sun each day, and the land for the people who live here. As one twitter user pointed out, it is traditional in Maori culture to name your mountain as a concrete way to talk about where you come from and identify with your land. With the Red Peak flag I believe we would be doing just that: showing the world our land and who we are as a nation.
Whether this extra flag will be added to the final list or whether many will vote to keep the old flag while lobbying for this new one remains to be seen. All I know is Red Peak has my vote. In fact, I would rather see Laser Beam Kiwi on our flag than some corporate, designed-by-comity, monstrosity.