THE week before last, my opinion piece was directed to us, as a nation, having the very necessary conversation about who we are, what we are, what we stand for and how we might represent part of that conversation with a new flag.
I have since received a large amount of uninvited advice and such was the volume I will reaffirm that our present flag does not represent our reality nor does it reflect our shared future.
If any of us has been able to visit and honour the graves of New Zealand servicemen interred in foreign lands, from the Pacific to the sands of North Africa, to the hilltops of Italy around Monte Casino, or to the killing fields of the First World War in northern France, he or she will note one powerful emblem that sets aside our Kiwi dead. Each gravestone is emblazoned with the Silver Fern.
If you look at your New Zealand passport, it is black emblazoned with the Silver Fern. If you recall the great moments that make us proud of who we are and what we are, recall the grainy black-and-white pictures of Lovelock and Snell dressed in black and dominating world athletics. If you look at our netball, rugby and league codes, black, white and the Silver Fern resonate.
Whether you want to believe it or not, go outside today as the All Blacks play the French and you will see the French with their flag, the tri colour – red, white and blue. Cast your eyes around the stadium where they will play, look at the cars as they drive by and you will see the black flag with the silver fern.
Quickly think about the difference between the Australian national flag and ours. When they fly side by side you do not know the difference.
While we should always remember our connections with the United Kingdom, they have chosen a new set of laws and a new set of friends in the European Union. We are no longer joined at the hip.
The Union Jack represents the combination of the England cross of St George, the blue and white diagonal flag of St Andrew for Scotland and the red for Wales. The British have a proud tradition and must forge their own independent future.
New Zealanders equally have a proud and connected tradition but we also must forge our own independent future. The Union Jack does not represent that future.
Next week let's review how we performed as a nation, not just on the field, but as a host.
There were costs to this World Cup. Do the benefits and advantages outweigh those costs?
- © Fairfax NZ News