Ready to flag old Kiwi colours

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 13:18 31/01/2014

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Marlborough people have provided some discerning views about the call to overhaul our national flag.

Prime Minister John Key this week aired the possibility of a referendum to change the flag.

Greg Norton, of Blenheim, has flown a New Zealand flag at his house every day for the past 10 years.

Travelling in the United States during the 1980s, Mr Norton was surprised at the prominence of its national flag.

"I stayed in Iowa with a mate for a few weeks and every second house had a flag flying the whole time," Mr Norton said.

On his return to New Zealand, he noticed a contrasting lack of patriotism, which prompted him to start flying the New Zealand flag at home.

"People come round and say, ‘what have you got that flying up there for?' or ‘it's bloody great you've got that up there'," Mr Norton said.

"I tell them I fly it because I'm a proud New Zealander."

Mr Norton also hoists a silver fern flag for All Black test matches.

The silver fern would be a good option for the national flag, but he preferred the existing one, Mr Norton said.

"I don't know why, I suppose I'm just a bit old-school."

Blenheim war veteran Pipi Boyd's attachment to the New Zealand flag ran deep.

"We fought for that flag in World War II, in Korea, in Malaya and in Vietnam."

However,the world was forever changing, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad, and you had to keep up.

Maggie Martin, originally from Canada, said the silver fern should become New Zealand's national flag, as the symbol was used in marketing on tourism and travel-related websites as well as in sport and on television.

"It's not so much the Southern Cross that you see, and it's hardly ever the Union Jack," she said.

Her mother Sheila Cunningham recalled when the Canadian flag was adopted in 1965, replacing their Royal Union flag which displayed the Union Jack.

"At the time it happened, I knew there were a lot of people who moaned and complained, but we all adjusted nicely," Ms Cunningham said.

Marlborough RSA president John Forrest preferred the silver fern. "Our national flag looks too much like Australia's."

Any other flag, including tino rangatiratanga, would be appropriate, Mr Forrest said.

"I'm not a Republican, but I just like the idea of having our own identity, and I think one of those flags would provide us with our own unique identity."

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- The Marlborough Express

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