Flag debate: Designers rejoice as Red Peak looks certain


John Key backs the inclusion of Red Peak in the Flag Referendum.

The Kiwi design community is rejoicing as the inclusion of Red Peak to the flag referendum looks a certain bet.

National said it would support a Green Party bill to add the popular option to the first vote, in which people choose a preferred flag design.

One of the final 40 but rejected from the final four, the geometric design by Aaron Dustin received a groundswell of support by Kiwis upset with the options on offer.

The Red Peak flag designed by Aaron Dustin

The Red Peak flag designed by Aaron Dustin

Designers Institute of New Zealand CEO of Cathy Veninga said the Red Peak "ought" to be included but that it was "not a total win".

""It ought to be included because it is based on better design principles," she said in a statement.

"But, still, the five flags do not live up to the potential for a flag that represents a well-designed New Zealand icon for now and the future."

"It is a better design than what was selected. It has good, informed, design sensibilities and this has helped to increase popular uptake.

"But, there may have been more successful and well-liked options if designers had been involved on the panel from the outset. The Designers Institute of New Zealand participated in an advisory role but obviously were not of influence in the selection process."

Artist Dick Frizzell, whose work has extensively explored Kiwi iconography, couldn't quite believe the news at first.


People on the streets of Wellington have their say on the Red Peak flag design being accepted as the 5th flag choice.

"I thought it was some teasing mirage," he said.

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"It's a long shot all up but, hey, it got such a rush on social media I'll be interested to see to see how far it spins out into the community."

He had been "obsessing" over the abstract design of the flag since it started to gain popularity.

"Even if it doesn't make it, it'll definitely be on people's mental map and become organically indexed into the consciousness."

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Kyle Lockwood, who designed two of the silver fern flags that made it to the shortlist, said he was happy for another flag to be added to the referendum.

"I reckon its better for democracy if the Government decides to add it," he said.

He didn't have any opinion on other flag designs, but said he had talked to some of the other designers throughout the process.

"The final vote will rest with the people of NZ."

He did not support Labour's move to add a "keep the current flag" option to the first referendum.

"I think the best way to do is to have the four or five designs actually put forwards, then have a yes or no on the second referendum."

Lockwood, who has campaigned for a new flag for years, said he would be voting for to change the flag whichever design won out.

Designer Thomas Le Bas, who runs the alternative flag-voting website flagpost.nz, saw the addition as an exciting win for the design community.

"Red Peak offers that depth of quality and craft. Sadly that doesn't apply to all options - [the] design community will still be sore about that," he said.

Le Bas thinks the flag has a chance in the referendum too. 

"It's a chance to tell its story to more people, and more people to engage and for more people to engage with it like others have so far."

"The whole of it so far has been that it's the people's choice to offer better choice. Glad to see the Government have taken that on."

A spokeswoman for the Flag Panel did not want to go into much detail on the process until the bill had passed.

"If the Government did make that decision then obviously it would be added to the referendum, and there would be five flags."

 - Stuff


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