Thank you to all 921,786 voters who chose the Silver Fern flag.
To design a flag is no mean feat – when I first did this many years ago, I didn’t imagine the day would come where it would be selected from over 10,000 designs and I would see it fly from baches, beaches, boats and buildings all over New Zealand. I am incredibly humbled by that.
I am proud to be a Kiwi and thrilled to have cast my own vote in a world-first referendum process.
Along the way there’s been robust and deeply passionate discussions – I remember a headline when the four alternatives were first announced “Four alternative flags, four million opinions” and that sums it up really!
Irrespective of the result, nearly 1 million of you have loved the Silver Fern and I hope that you will continue to fly it.
I myself will continue to wear the Silver Fern flag wherever I go, and of course I’ll be just as proud to march behind the official New Zealand flag this coming ANZAC day as I have done since 1996 when I was a volunteer in the NZ Army.
Kyle Lockwood DipDArch DipArchTech MNZIOB
Silver Fern flag
As a current serviceman deployed abroad I am watching (and voting) from afar and through my own poll with the numerous other nationalities I am currently working alongside, the silver fern is by far the one they can easily identify NZ with. Not only is the silver fern adorned on the NZ headstones in the numerous war graves around Europe, but also prominent on the current NZ Army and NZ Defence Force (NZDF) branding.
That said the flag is for all of NZ, not just the military. By applying the military appreciation process ‘Observe, Orientate, Decide, and Act’ an informed decision can be realised without political or organisational interference and bias so the action taken on the voting paper is an individual’s choice.
Through this referendum we have a chance to make history and provide a NZ identity for our grand and great grandchildren to rally under, rather than living in the past.
As a serving member of the NZDF I remain loyal to the NZ Flag of the day, it is my hope that come the 24th March 2016 we can march proudly into a future under a flag that is uniquely distinguishable and recognisable of NZ advancing, and not, marking time.
(*Name changed to protect the identity of the author currently deployed abroad on active service)
NZ FLAG FACT NUMBER 52
In 1853, while the HMS Sparrow was berthed in New Plymouth, sailors with the Royal Navy challenged the local army garrison to a match involving rifle shooting. The event took place at Rewa Rewa Rifle Range, and just before it began, the New Zealand shooters spotted some silver fern, picked it, and pinned the leaves to their pockets as a good luck charm. The charm brought success, as the army garrison won the competition. Its members apparently said: ‘The silver fern has brought us luck and we will carry on using it.
During the nineteenth century, the silver fern was also used in verse and paintings by famed watercolourist, Alfred Sharpe. Sharpe, regarded as one of the pioneer artists of New Zealand, prolific and successful, producing around 150 watercolours depicting the New Zealand landscape from the 1860s to the 1880s, also wrote poetry. One of his poems, titled A Night in the Forest, contained these lines:
A silver fern outspreading,
In mass of lace like threading,
Throughout its frondings wide,
Faint phosphorescence showers,
On the kie kie flowers, from its silv’ry underside.
From New Zealand Flag Facts by historian Malcolm Mulholland. Read more at: