Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Discussions on flags used in Oceania.
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Leonardo Piccioni
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby Leonardo Piccioni » 21 Feb 2013 23:20

Likewise. It's just "questionable".
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Philip S. Tibbetts
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby Philip S. Tibbetts » 04 Mar 2013 14:09

I’m pleased to see that my idea has gone down well on here. I do actually quite like the plain ‘Silver Fern Flag’ (and certainly wouldn’t have any problems with seeing it adopted) but felt that a field division did add a little extra bit of structure to the design as well as importantly referencing the ‘long white cloud’ name.

Although I really like the nebuly division I did suspect that the straight hoops would be more popular, which is understandable. Though the more I think about the more I am inclined to focus on the plain black and white versions as I think adding the blue just makes the design practically less simple as well as being likely to be more associated with water – as such the white hoop on its own makes the best and most concise symbolism.

Increasing the size of the fern as suggested is valid, but I’m not convinced by counter-changing such a small portion of it. I think this, whilst admittedly looking good graphically, does make things a little too fiddly. Instead I might try using a different ratio for the hoops (currently 3:1:1 but I will experiment with 4:1:1 and 6:1:1) which I’ll post on here in due course. I had played with the idea of using a diagonal hoop from lower hoist to upper fly, which would give extra room for a larger fern – however I’m growing reluctant to try this as I think it would end up giving a bit too much prominence to the white colour (which would run through the centre of the flag) when black should be the clear focus (which is why I look the offset hoop in my current design).

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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby Philip S. Tibbetts » 10 Mar 2013 00:51

As promised here are the designs in 4.1.1 and 6.1.1 ratios that I promised last time. I welcome your thoughts - personally I think I might prefer the 6.1.1 version - though they are both improvements on my original and give the fern more space and prominence.
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John in Tronna
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby John in Tronna » 11 May 2013 08:58

Smertios wrote:It looks more like a paper plane on a black background:
Image

xD

The new RNZAF ensign. :P

Hapax
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby Hapax » 26 May 2013 14:37

There is the issue of the so-called "Silver" Fern, which is in fact not silver but white on all the illustrated flags, and thus reminiscent of a White Feather, the traditional symbol of cowardice..

A flag should be easily reproducible and a child should be able to draw it - no way that the White Feather, ...er, sorry Silver Fern can easily be sketched, especially with that little bend in it. Only Portuguese children have more absurdly difficult tasks in drawing their national flag ("okay class, for the first 6 weeks we're going to practice drawing Astrolabes, then we'll move on to castles and escutcheons"....). Contrast that to the French, Dutch or Hungarian child who needs a mere 2 crayon strokes to reproduce his or her national flag perfectly.

Alex Mayo came up with some interesting designs avoiding some of these problems. Personally, I reckon Clark Titman's design has the advantages of familiar colours and design as well as simplicity.

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Meiriongwril
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby Meiriongwril » 26 May 2013 15:08

Hapax wrote:
A flag should be easily reproducible and a child should be able to draw it -


Why? I personally don't feel flag design should revolve around the artistic 'skills' of children! If that were the case there'd be plenty of national flags that would have to be abandoned, including the union jack and the current NZ flag!! Flags should be judged on their receptive impact on the viewer, not the productive drawing ability of either adults of kids!!

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Leonardo Piccioni
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby Leonardo Piccioni » 26 May 2013 15:48

Reproducibility = simplicity + notability.
Visit my blogs about flags: Create/Recreate - Flags, etc. | Flag Review |Flags of U.S. States.
Visit the Vexillology Wiki, an initiative to propagate American and Canadian flag proposals.

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PaulJames
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby PaulJames » 26 May 2013 19:13

Hapax wrote:There is the issue of the so-called "Silver" Fern, which is in fact not silver but white on all the illustrated flags, and thus reminiscent of a White Feather, the traditional symbol of cowardice..

Heraldically, silver is usually represented as white (and gold is usually represented as yellow).

As the Wikipedia article mentions, there are other meanings for the white feather: "in some cases of pacifism, and in the United States, of extraordinary bravery and excellence in combat marksmanship." White feathers are also common heraldic crests and badges, e.g. in the Prince of Wales's badge (which originated with the Black Prince, noted for his military prowess) and the crest of the Duke of Edinburgh (an ex-Naval officer).

But the fern is visibly a fern and not a feather. We'd have to do some serious purging of heraldic, vexillological and other symbology if we have to avoid having charges which look vaguely like each other!

I don't think a child have a problem producing a rough approximation of the flag, and a rough approximation is all one usually gets from children (and even adults sometimes!) of many national flags, including those of the UK and USA.

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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby Hapax » 28 May 2013 17:00

PaulJames: a rough approximation is all one usually gets from children (and even adults sometimes!) of many national flags, including those of the UK and USA


I would say : especially those of the UK and USA, precisely because of their cluttered designs.... I also submit that the artistic skills of children do matter in the the area of National Flags!

Meiriongwril: I personally don't feel flag design should revolve around the artistic 'skills' of children! If that were the case there'd be plenty of national flags that would have to be abandoned, including the union jack and the current NZ flag!!


Interesting that you should bring up abandoning the Union Jack... I wasn't going to mention it but that's what this thread is all about - the notion that the Union Jack on the flag is "unrepresentative" of multicultural Pacific Rim NZ and "needs" to be replaced with something more "inclusive".... a sure way of driving a wedge between traditionalist whites (who'll hang on to the current design at all costs) and everyone else (trying to use sporting or Maori-based "tea-towel" designs).... Maybe some 10-year olds could come up with something suitable.

And, okay, I admit it: I think the Union Jack is a prime example of unwieldy design, regardless of how many zillion times it has been reproduced, and how familiar we all are with it. It is the hybrid result of an enforced mating attempt between several otherwise perfectly good flags piled promiscuously on top of each other. It's as awkward as the relationship between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and might as well be abandoned as meaningless in a wider EU/Scottish Independence context. There isn't much Welsh about it either, unless you put a red dragon in the middle....and what that has to do with NZ is ...well, exactly the problem.

But if you dump the Union Jack from the NZ flag you're left with... well, not much, really... kind of a navy PRC flag. Hence the vexillological dilemma symbolised by the White Feather...er, sorry: "Silver" Fern of Surrender to Pacific Rim-ism.

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PaulJames
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Re: Is it time to change NZ's flag?

Postby PaulJames » 29 May 2013 11:42

Hapax wrote:
PaulJames: a rough approximation is all one usually gets from children (and even adults sometimes!) of many national flags, including those of the UK and USA


I would say : especially those of the UK and USA, precisely because of their cluttered designs.... I also submit that the artistic skills of children do matter in the the area of National Flags!

Why? It's rare for young children to render anything entirely accurately, so why should national flags be an exception? The requirement would disqualify something like 40% of national flags.

Flags are not designed specifically for children, and children don't produce the objects which actually fly from flag poles. They are designed to be quickly and easily recognizable by adults and children alike. Which is a child more likely to recognize easily - the British or American flag, or a simple bi-colour or tri-colour where it's easy for a non-expert to mis-remember the colour sequence (and let's not even talk about recognizing the flag of Netherlands vs Luxembourg or Indonesia vs Monaco!)?

Interesting that you should bring up abandoning the Union Jack... I wasn't going to mention it but that's what this thread is all about - the notion that the Union Jack on the flag is "unrepresentative" of multicultural Pacific Rim NZ and "needs" to be replaced with something more "inclusive".... a sure way of driving a wedge between traditionalist whites (who'll hang on to the current design at all costs) and everyone else (trying to use sporting or Maori-based "tea-towel" designs).... Maybe some 10-year olds could come up with something suitable.

One could just as easily argue that retaining the traditional flag is driving a wedge between traditionalist whites and everyone else! I'm not aware that ethnicity has much to do with it anyway - aren't there plenty of British-origin whites in the movements to replace the flags of Australia and New Zealand?

No doubt conservatives argued similarly in Canada in the 1960s, but who now, except the most eccentric of traditionalists, would dream of reverting from the maple leaf "tea-towel" to the red ensign? The flag works because it is simple, distinctive, and represents all Canadians without harking back to their historic identities and divisions (but I wonder how many children render the maple leaf accurately?). It seems to me that the fern flags here could do exactly the same thing for New Zealand.


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