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Opinion - New flag, or flag the whole thing?


NZ flag option-482Though a product of the late 1940s, I don’t think I’ve ever had to pledge, hand on heart, allegiance to the flag and if I had I think it would simply be a matter of protocol rather than any teary-eyed promise to a somewhat estranged Mother Country.

Early in the process, like many Kiwis, I couldn’t have cared less whether or not we changed the flag. However as it now seems a likelihood, I’m taking more notice and, with time, getting used to the preferred design.

The greatest prominence, worldwide, for most living New Zealanders has been through sporting achievements and trade expo’s so there is little doubt we are identified, and to a great degree, by the silver fern. I’m coming to think it is much more significant than just a sporting motif.

Love him or loathe him, on TV last week Aussie commentator Peter Fitzsimons said he had trawled the annals of New Zealand/Australian history and found through all our relationships in war, the accent was on our mates and our country – the flag, he said, is never mentioned, an interesting observance.

At a recent address in Waipu, Prime Minister John Key noted that at the many war memorials he had visited throughout the world, the gravestones of New Zealand soldiers were signified by the fern. Though our roots may have been in Mother England we are now a unique eclectic group which can rightfully be called ‘New Zealanders.’ Should we not have a flag that defines such as ‘us’?

Recently another opinion came to the fore. According to Auckland-based feng shui master Francis Lui the most favoured new flag had a "yin" design, which wasn't good, and black on top was a bad omen.

"Black represents mourning, loss and implied loss, and it also resembles evil and sadness," said Mr Lui. So, what of the All Blacks, and what did the Union Jack do to counter this loss,

evil and sadness when a huge percentage of our population died in wars supporting Great Britain?

"In feng shui, black also represents water and water makes stock markets go down.”

There have been stock market crashes through the ages regardless of the colour of any flag and the only semblance to water has been the tears from investors who have lost their fortunes.

Then further: “Even the blue is a lighter blue from the current flag, a mark that the country could get weaker."

Ppffffttttt is the only response I can think of here. And will we see a mass exodus of Asians if the new design is adopted? Doubtful!

I’m amazed that a Chinese perspective has even been brought to such prominence.

I understand also the chagrin some feel about the spending of $12 million on the exercise and there are always more and better uses for any amount of money depending on what faction of society one talks to. But by Christmas we will have, or not, a new flag and life will go on just as it always has.

The silver fern has been a New Zealand icon for over 160 years and has been worn by many generations. So, if we have to have a new flag, why not adopt an emblem that is essentially “ours” and which is known and respected throughout the world already?

Voting closes on March 24, and voters are encouraged to post their voting papers back by today, Monday 21, to make sure they arrive in time to be counted.

MEANING: How important is the design of the new flag to us and others? Do we care about flag feng shui?

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