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Which One of These Designs Will Become New Zealand’s Next Flag?

The Kiwis might be about to go through a radical, graphic-design oriented identity change.

The next design could be any one of these. Image courtesy of govt.nz

A flag is more than a piece of cloth that floats in the breeze: it’s also an identity. In New Zealand, that identity might be about to radically change. As of this week, the tiny island nation began to consider new designs that would potentially replace its traditional flag. There are currently 40 flags in the running, from the geometric to the whimsical, all submitted by the public.


New Zealand’s current, boring flag.

For decades New Zealand’s flag has been a point of controversy, with citizens arguing that the Union Jack occuping its top-left quarter--a reminder of New Zealand’s genesis as a British colony--does not represent the wildely unique country and its heritage. The topic has become so heated that last year Prime Minister John Key was forced by public opinion to announce a referendum on the flag, which will ultimately be held in 2016. After it was announced, the government was flooded with over 10,000 submissions.

To make the flag more unique to the region, many proposals included easily recognizable motifs like the silver fern and the koru. As Hyperallergic pointed out, the fern “already appears on the country’s coat of arms and its one-dollar coin, not to mention the merchandise of many of its sports teams; the spiral-shape koru, which is Māori for “loop,” celebrates its diverse population, of which nearly 15% identify as being part of the indigenous group.”

Discussed on the government’s website, this potential new flag should “unmistakably be from New Zealand and celebrate us as a progressive, inclusive nation that is connected to its environment, and has a sense of its past and a vision for its future.”

Silver Fern (Black & White) by Kyle Lockwood

Silver Fern (Black & White) by Kyle Lockwood

Koru Fin by Daniel Crayford and Leon Cayford

Unity Koru by Paul Densem

Huihui/Together by Sven Baker

For the full list, check out the 40 designs currently on display here.

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