silverfernflag.co.nz Newstalk ZB Media Statement.
Hello Chris, thank you for approaching me and asking about a flag I designed for New Zealand.
The flag was designed when I was a Massey University student in 2000, features a bold silver fern on the left hand side, and the Southern Cross to the right, the colours honour the red, white and blue colours seen on the present flag. If you are near a computer or a smart phone, the design can be viewed at www.silverfernflag.co.nz.
A stylised Silver Fern, a New Zealand icon for well over 100 years, has been worn proudly by many generations of New Zealanders, from sports people, to firefighters and military personnel, The Silver Fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation.
The multiple points of the fern leaf represents Aotearoa's peaceful multicultural society, a single fern leaf spreading upwards represents that we are all New Zealanders - one people - growing onward into the future.
The Southern Cross, is a defining element in the present New Zealand Flag, it represents our geographic location in the antipodes. The Southern Cross is visible throughout the year in the southern night skies.
It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands. Each star is also representative of the major island groups of New Zealand - North Island, South Island, Stewart Island, and the Chatham Islands.
Red, is a significant colour to the NZ Maori, Red also represents the sacrifice made by all New Zealanders during wartime.
White represents Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, The official Maori name for New Zealand. The colour also represents peace.
Blue represents aumoana or the ocean that surrounds our island nation, over which all New Zealanders, or their ancestors, crossed to get to New Zealand.
Rugby is not credited with the first wearing of the silver fern, according to Nelson historian Alan Turley.
He said that while records were scant, an historic magazine cutting given to him by rugby commentator Keith Quinn, showed the fern being worn in a shooting, not rugby, match between New Plymouth's army garrison and the visiting Royal Navy.
It was 1853, and the Royal Navy ship HMS Sparrow was anchored offshore in a visit to the fledgling town. While onshore, the navy men challenged the local army lads to a rifle shooting match at the Rewarewa rifle range.
According to the clipping, the army men decided to pick silver fern tips growing near the range and pin them to their uniform shirt pockets as a sort of good luck talisman. The team won the shooting match and thereafter considered the fern a good-luck symbol, and so the tradition of the silver fern began.
I appreciate that people fought wars under our present union-jack based flag, but what is lesser known is that soldiers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for New Zealand, lie buried in foreign fields beneath headstones bearing not the Union Jack, but the Silver Fern. Also the badges of many NZ army regiments feature the silver fern.
Our Canadian commonwealth brothers-in-arms also had troops who fought under a British Red Ensign based flag, but in 1965 they changed their flag to the distinctive Maple Leaf Flag which we today associate with all things Canadian, however on remembrance days, the old flag is sometimes brought out and displayed too.
If New Zealand changes its flag in the future I hope that on ANZAC and remembrance days we could honour our past soldiers in the same way as the Canadians do today.
Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, are supporters of the Silver Fern. The fern is our icon, it's not just about the All-Blacks, it was on our one cent coins, it is now on our $1 coins too, and it features on our banknotes. It's been on our coat of arms since 1956, and lately it has become the official symbol of the NZ government abroad.
It's now being painted on Air New Zealand's aircraft, and like Canada's maple leaf, the fern is a powerful symbol that says 'New Zealand'. It even features strongly on our passports.
Speaking of passports I'm presently spokesman for a group called nzten.com, we are advocating for the return of ten year NZ passports. Amongst our 11,000 supporters are a few Knights and Dames, and the Hon Phil Goff.
I believe that one day New Zealand will choose a new flag, the present flag suggests we are a subservient colony of the United Kingdom, not the proud independent nation of New Zealand that we have been, since the passing of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act in 1947.
I believe my design honours our past, but also looks forward to our future. Flag change could be 25 years away, but I hope that whichever design is chosen, it is done democratically, and that design chosen represents all New Zealanders.
Melbourne, 12th August 2013.
Chris Lynch <Chris@newstalkzb.co.nz> 11 August 2013.
Hi there, Kyle I host NewstalkZB's Canterbury Mornings programme (on New Zealand's second biggest radio market)
We are discussing "changing the New Zealand flag" on the programme tomorrow Monday. We're on 100.1FM and streaming live at NewstalkZB.co.nz.
I'm keen to get people's input on this issue and welcoming calls in from the public on (03) 340 10 98 or toll-free (inside the Canterbury region) on 0800 80 10 80. Talkback starts at 8.40AM.
You're more than welcome to call in and please spread the word!!
Best Wishes, Chris Lynch
Canterbury Mornings with Chris Lynch