A flag for our national identity
What should be on New Zealand's flag? We asked Stuff Nation readers to share their views.
A flag must be two things: timeless and universal.
It must not represent New Zealand's past or present, but that which is common to both: our nation's essence.
This is why I hold reservations about a flag which features the silver fern, or relies too heavily on black. While these are symbols of New Zealand, they are mostly associated with sport.
Of course sport is an important part of our national identity today, but I don't feel it is what really makes us Kiwis.
We should ask what traits of our nation are, and will always be, truly ours.
To me, two parts of our national identity are paramount: our unique place in the Southern Pacific, and our connection to our land.
Although the Union Jack has no place on our flag, I feel that any new design must maintain the Southern Cross. Generations of Kiwis have grown up under the stars, and it will always resonate because of its reference to our physical location. It represents our place in the world, and a unity between nations of the South Pacific.
Australia, Samoa, Tokelau and Papua New Guinea represent some of our oldest allies, and all depict the Cross.
I think this sense of community with our geopolitical area is a key driver towards a new flag - we now feel far less European, and more significantly Pacific.
The second aspect, our unique land, should also be celebrated in our flag. New Zealand is a beautifully shaped country. The contours of our two main islands are harmoniously balanced and instantly recognisable. It presents one our most defining features: that we are an island nation, isolated and independent.
Our land is extremely important to us. Our diverse and unique landscapes are cherished as some of the most spectacular in the world. It also reflects the huge importance Maori have given this land ever since they first arrived.
I believe Kiwis will always treasure the variety and splendour of our territory.
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