Support for 'Red Peak' flag on the rise

The 'Red Peak' flag will not be an option in the flag referendum despite growing support for the fifth flag alternative.

The 'Red Peak' flag will not be an option in the flag referendum despite growing support for the fifth flag alternative.

Opposition to the four New Zealand flag choices on offer has begun to coalesce around a single design.

Support for the geometric 'Red Peak' flag has grown rapidly since the final four flags were selected on Tuesday.

Writer Toby Manhire and artist Dick Frizzell have both spoken in support of its simple, non-illustrative approach, and a Facebook page supporting the flag has gathered over 1700 likes in a day.

The design, by Xero product design director Aaron Dustin, 42, was selected for the long list of 40 flags, but did not make the short list of four.

The simplistic design intentionally evokes the Maori myth of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, the sky father and earth mother who lie locked together.

It also refers to New Zealand's geographic uniqueness, in that we are the first country to see the dawn.

A diagram of the flag.

The black on the left represents the night sky, while the the blue on the right represents the coming day.

Supporter Frizzell, whose work has extensively explored Kiwi iconography, said he found the four flags the panel offered lame, particularly the near identical fern designs.

"'They're so f------ tragic I can't believe it. I'm sure Kyle [Lockwood, designer of two of the fern flags] is a lovely boy but that is such an aunty flag, such a nanny flag." he said.

"We all know the PM loves that awful fern that we see on the side of airplanes. He's obviously walked into the room and said this is what you're going to choose."

Red Peak immediately struck Frizzell.

"It's the New Zealand flag. I'm totally convinced. The more I look at it the more I can't see how you could better it."

"The night, the day, the sky. The evocation of the meeting house barge boards. The Tangata Whenua is in the house, literally, without screaming it."

Dustin has been interested in New Zealand identity as long as he has studied design, and felt something like an obligation to contribute.

Like most of his supporters, he found the four shortlisted flags disappointing. 

The best designs that didn't make the cut
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"I appreciate the ideas and thoughts of the designers and panel but I think where we've ended up does not capture the hearts and minds of New Zealand."

Red Peak amongst other international flags.

He was careful not to criticise the panel directly, who he believes have been handed a very hard task, but he had hoped a more forward-looking design might make it through.

"They've looked towards those familiar motifs instead of trying to expressing something is perhaps new or innovative," he said.

"As a pretty grizzled designer, it's not about you, it's about getting the right solution."

The flag is similar but not identical to another design which won Gareth Morgan's competition.

A spokeswoman for the Flag Panel said that the shortlist was final.

"The flag consideration panel were appointed to make a decision, and cabinet has approved those four alternative flags for the referendum."

* Comments on this article are now closed.

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