READER REPORT:

Silver fern and Southern Cross

RON STEERS
Last updated 12:32 04/02/2014
Our Flag
Ron Steers
Ron Steers' design for a new New Zealand flag.
silver fern
Flickr / EJC01
The silver fern can be seen on the graves of 93 Kiwi soldiers at a cemetery in Brockenhurst, England. Wounded World War I soldiers were taken to a nearby hospital; not all survived.
Janis Barbour said her flag incorporated the two flags we already have - one symbolising British history, the other symbolising Maori culture.

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What should be on NZ's flag?

'Absolute requirements' for a flag for all A flag for visual harmony and balance Icons combined for New Zealand flag Believing NZ's ready for flag change Distinctive fern flag with a twist Simplicity and symbolism for NZ flag Our national identity crisis A flag to portray NZ's cultural heritage Artistic approach to New Zealand flag Three colours that are simply New Zealand

I can see points for changing the flag and also for not changing. There is the age-old arguments that our boys have served under that flag for two world wars and countless other campaigns both in the name of war and peace.

There are countless war graves around the world testifying to that fact but if you look closely at the inscriptions on them they tend to feature the silver fern ... no sign of a Union Jack or the Southern Cross.

My wife and I were lucky enough to attend the 90th commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele in Ieper, Belgium, and as a part of that I went to a Dave Gallaher memorial rugby match held at the football ground in the town of Passchendaele between a London-based New Zealand club side and what was supposed to be a Belgium selection. They ended up playing a French club side as there were not enough locals who knew how to play the game. After the match, which was won by the NZ side, the team lined up for photos, complete with flag ... only the problem was the only flag they had was an Australian flag. No one noticed it was the wrong flag, until I pointed it out and let them use my New Zealand Flag that I always carry with me while overseas.

The Silver Fern is our country's emblem and used by all sorts, from members of the military to athletes. When travelling overseas I like to wear shirts with the silver fern and/or New Zealand sewn onto them as we, as a nation, do get a lot of respect and we don’t want to get mistaken for someone of another nationality. But this is not always the case. On a cruise up the Alaskan coast, I was asked by one burly American bloke, “Why do you wear a white feather on your shirt?” I got the impression he was referring to my level of bravery - or lack of thereof? When I pointed out that it was not a feather but in fact a “silver fern” his reply was “A silver what?”

I guess what my point is, is that no matter what we have on our flag, it does not change who we are or what we do, and there are always those who take note and those who basically don’t care.

My design is based on our nations' adopted colour, black, with the silver fern to show who we are and the Southern Cross to show where we are. Simple but effective in my mind. You choose. I am a proud Kiwi and will always be so and will continue to fly our colours on my flag pole at home as well as when we travel overseas.


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