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Being Judgmental.


Deciding which design route is the right one is never easy. Here is the shortlist of proposed new flag designs for New Zealand, ahead of a referendum in 2016. Which one would you choose?

As a non-Kiwi I don’t get a vote, but as a citizen of the world I figure I can have an opinion. For me, it’s an interesting case of head over heart. The strongest designs come from the fern leaf, which in the Maori tradition represents new growth, strength and peace. But then which approach? The unfurling frond (or ‘koru’) is a common motif in native art. So my heart says that’s the winner. But the brief called for a design that ‘screams New Zealand’.

One way to judge work is to close ones eyes and picture the ‘brand’ in ones minds eye. What do you see? On this basis surely the black flag with the silver leaf that looks like the all-blacks shirt is the right answer. One other issue with any high profile design is the ‘it looks like…’ brigade intent on weeing on the fireworks. They’re saying this looks a bit like the Isis flag. Personally I think this is an idiotic view, so there’s a good chance it will carry the day, as idiotic views often do.

I guess one can look to Shakespeare for guidance: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’. On this basis, I think both are true to the essence of New Zealand. Happily, it’s not for most of us to have to choose.



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