Last updated 13:12 03/08/2015 stuff.co.nz
How about a colourful flag for New Zealand? This flag is a variant of the Silver Fern Flag with the red portion at the hoist changed to black ‐ one of New Zealand's most well known national colours.
Black has been a gazetted official New Zealand colour since at least 1975, along with red and white, and the colour blue features on our official coat of arms and, of course, our present flag which was made official in 1902.
The colours black, red, white and blue were also on New Zealand's first home grown flag design of 1834.
Black also featured strongly on New Zealand war service medals, given to our brave soldiers after World War Two, it is a significant colour to Maori, and features on the Maori National Flag of New Zealand made official in 2011.
New Zealand's coat of arms was designed and made official in 1911.
On the shield, three black ships on a white background, representing our trading, immigration, and maritime history, feature predominantly on the arms. Black also features prominently, but not overwhelmingly, on the cloak of the Maori supporter, and red and blue also feature strongly throughout.
Contrary to popular belief the silver fern did not start out as a rugby football symbol, it actually was first worn by New Zealand troops in 1853, and in the 1880s was adopted by our rugby team, firstly as a gold fern on a navy blue Jersey. It wasn't until the early 1900s that the silver fern on an all‐black jersey became well known.
Like the maple leaf to Canada, the silver fern ‘screams New Zealand’, and it's not just a mere sports symbol. In far off fields lie our soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, forever memorialised under the silver fern.
The fern is on our army and navy logos, our firefighter and police uniforms, it's on our money, it's on our passports, it's on our national airliners, it's our symbol and it's time we put it on our flag.
On examining our history and growing sense of national identity, it appears that many would like to include our famous national colour black, and of course many others would not like to see a fully black flag with all the piracy connotations that it invokes.
Perhaps this flag, with a nod to our past, incorporating all of New Zealand's national colours and the fern, is the design that best represents New Zealand ‐ without the colonial overtones of the Union flag that takes up the dominant position on our present flag.
And, like the flags of Belgium and South Africa, it also doesn't suffer from an overuse of black.
Black is our obvious national colour. It represents the pride and strength of New Zealand. To Māori, black represents potential, and signifies the beginning of time, which is apt, given our position as one of the first nations to see the new day.
The colour blue, representing the pacific, and our clear skies, along with the traditional New Zealand Southern Cross in red, gives this proposed national flag the required vibrancy that a silver fern on an entirely black background cannot achieve. By incorporating the Southern Cross and colours from our present flag, I believe the design also honours our history.