As an New Zealander, it's been my long-held opinion that my country needs a new flag. Our current design has accrued a lot of meaning, but I think that we've outgrown it. It was established when we were a British colony, and although it's served us well over the years, it's showing its age. Today, we've a diverse and proudly independent nation, and many of us are committed to the principle of giving everyone a fair go. Our flag should show that to the world.
Black and white are commonly used in New Zealand sport. This stems from the All Blacks (pictured here performing a haka), or New Zealand national rugby team, who have worn these colours ever since their first international game. More recently, the combination has also came to symbolise the country in general, being used by brands such as Air New Zealand.
The Southern Cross is a storied symbol of New Zealand. It was used by both Polynesian and European navigators to discover the islands. In traditional Māori belief, it was alternatively identified as Māhutonga, the hole in the Milky Way through which winds entered the world, or Te Punga, an anchor of a massive heavenly vessel. Ever since the early colonisation of the country, it has been used as a national symbol. Today, it appears on various organisational and corporate logos, as well as the current flag and coat of arms. Southern Cross in the National Encylopedia
Although each colour on the flag has its own meaning, together their arrangement also symbolises a stylised sunrise or sunset over water - a common sight in an island country such as New Zealand. The East Cape, near the city of Gisborne, is the first place in the world to see the sun rise, due to the Earth's spherical shape.
New Zealand's flag has served the country well over the years, but I believe it's time for a change. Many are tired of the flag debate after the last referendum... didn't work out so hot, and I understand that. But I still think we should adopt a new one eventually, maybe 20 or 30 years down the line. The current Union Jack banner was adopted when the country was a British colony, and was designed for that. Today, we are our own country with a culture drawing from a variety of sources, as culturally independent and unique as Canada or the United States.
I've talked to more than a few people who believe that we've culturally similar to the British. Our flag no doubt lays a major role in this. Britain is a great nation, but has always had a mixed image globally. There's historical precedent for this: Canada changed their flag because it directly affected their need to play a neutral role in international crises. Us Kiwis too should have the choice to associate with Britain or not. While we can still stand together in important international matters, our principles may not always align with theirs - like our commitment to our Nuclear-Free Zone.
Many Kiwis place importance in the Crown - whether due to its traditional symbolism, or its role in the Treaty of Waitangi. Although I'm not a monarchist personally, I acknowledge these desires. But the Queen in New Zealand and her Realm of New Zealand is a separate role from the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and her United Kingdom. They just both share the same Crown. Traditionally, most rulers of separate kingdoms gave them their own heraldic iconography, to illustrate their separate, but connected status. The current flag is more appropriate for a colony, not an equal possession of Her Majesty, and it was adopted when we were one. Even the realm of Scotland's own banner has no mention of Britain as a whole or England, even though it shares a much closer relation with them. The only Scottish flag that features England de-emphasises her English possessions, and is only used in her role as Queen of all Great Britain.
Finally, I accept that our current flag has a storied history. Both the ANZACs and Sir Edmund Hillary forged our nation's spirit under it, and many more brave souls died under it. Some people claim adopting a new flag would be to discard those moments in our nation's history, but that's not true. Many of those epople would have wanted our nation to continue advancing with history and maintain the pulse of the times. And if ever we choose to change it, the old flag can maintained in sites of great historical or national importance, as the Canadians do with their former flag. Nowadays, many Canadians of all ages take pride in an unique design that reflects their nation's history. The waiting list of Canadian flags flown in the country's Parliament is over 100 years long.
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