Why Kyle Lockwood's New Zealand flag doesn't work

Last updated 09:32 14/03/2016

Kyle Lockwood with his successful flag design.

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Driving down the Kapiti Coast highway, I saw the Kyle Lockwood flag flying on a flagpole outside a café. The wind was blowing in a westerly direction and so the view was of the reverse side of the flag, and it didn't look right.

This view has, as it has been pointed out before, the fern rising from the bottom right to the left. This is an opposing orientation of the traditional image of the Silver Fern used as an emblem for New Zealand.

Unlike Canada's maple leaf, the image of the Silver Fern is asymmetrical, not balanced, and, therefore, has difficulty in providing the required symbolism in each of the different directions.

When you look at other Nations' emblems, most of them are symmetrical, the Scottish Thistle, Welsh Feathers and Japan's Cherry Blossom. Also, the Scottish Thistle and Welsh Feathers are on their soldiers' war graves and yet those emblems are not used on the country's national flag.

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In fact, none of the Commonwealth's gravestones use their country's flag, but they are buried under their service emblem or the emblem of their country.

As the image of the Lockwood flag has been marketed in the standard orientation of a flag, flying left to right, we have forgotten about the other orientations that a flag might be subjected to.

One of the most common orientations is the flag pole projecting out at an angle and the flag flying at a downward angle. This orientation will also put the Silver Fern in a downward angle, making the fern look as if it is beginning to wilt.

Worse still, if the flag is hung vertically downwards, the orientation of the Silver Fern on the Lockwood flag would simply look limp and broken. Not the sort of thing that would invoke pride in a nation.

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Looking at the Lockwood flag in the four different orientations, only one out of the four properly represents the Silver Fern, the other three orientations let it down. It looks great on paper but fails in reality.

The Silver Fern is a bold emblem for New Zealand, but the time when it supposed to invoke national pride, the use of our country's flag, I'm sorry to say, it simply doesn't work.

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