If flag change symbolises moving forward, why are we looking at the past?

Last updated 05:00 19/09/2015

The Red Peak flag, designed by Aaron Dustin.

Final five New Zealand flags: Which is your favourite?

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Which is your favourite flag?

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I myself, a Kiwi born in the United Kingdom - who moved to New Zealand at a young age has always looked at the New Zealand flag with pride and honour.

For me, I see two symbols of two closely tied countries. The Union Jack, the symbol of where I came from, and the southern cross, the symbol of where I've come to and where it will lead me from here.

At the beginning of the flag change process I was heavily against the changing of our current flag, especially at the millions it's costing while we already have so many ignored issues in this country.

But over time I opened my mind to the situation. As a designer, that's part of the job - opening your mind and looking at things from a different angle.

* Flag design needs to endure

The fern has lost its power
The current New Zealand flag is not and never was our own
Embrace the flag as our change in identity  

We had some amazing designs pitched to the flag change commission (FCC) and I was becoming more and more proud of the New Zealanders that were standing up, submitting designs and looking at change in a positive and futuristic manner.

Then the FCC announced the four finalists. To say I was disgusted would be an understatement.

Once again, we take five steps backwards, ignore the outcry from our citizens and simply say 'it's not changing'.

I believe this whole process, from day one of John Key saying he wanted to see the silver fern on the flag, has been an illusion to make us believe we did have a choice. That is why I'm standing tall and announcing my support for Red Peak.

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As a designer looking at it, it has followed design principles through and through. And for the FCC to decide on these flags without the consultation of a distinguished New Zealand designer is just diabolical.

Instead they use a historian. The definition of a historian in the Oxford dictionary is: "A historian is a person who researches, studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it."

And here is my point: If we are looking at the flag change as a symbol of moving forward, then why are we looking at the past?

That is why, come November, if Red Peak is not added to the shortlist I will be voting to keep our current flag and hopefully we won't screw this up in another 10 years' time.

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