New Zealand may fly a new flag
Updated: 2015-08-13 07:51
By Associated Press in Wellington(China Daily)
New Zealand is considering changing its flag, as many believe it is outdated and too similar to Australia's.
The flag also depicts Britain's Union Jack in the top left corner, hearkening back to a colonial past that many New Zealanders are eager to put behind them.
The public submitted more than 10,000 designs for a new flag, which a government-appointed panel has narrowed down to 40 finalists.
However, there are plenty of New Zealanders who want to keep their current flag. Many veterans fought under the flag and feel a special bond to it. Others simply don't see any need for a change, or view the process as an expensive stunt initiated by Prime Minister John Key to distract from more pressing issues.
Almost all of the 40 finalists feature one of three design elements, or a combination of them: the koru, the silver fern and the Southern Cross.
The koru depicts an unfurling fern frond and is a symbol often used in indigenous Maori art. It also has metaphorical meanings, suggesting perpetual movement and the circular nature of life. It is featured on many things, including Air New Zealand's logo.
The silver fern is the koru unfurled. Native ferns are found throughout New Zealand forests, and the silver fern is noted for its striking appearance. Even more than the koru, the silver fern has become a national symbol and is worn by many of the country's sports teams, including the beloved All Blacks rugby team.
The Southern Cross is a distinctive star constellation visible from the Southern Hemisphere. Unlike the koru and silver fern, the Southern Cross is featured on the current flag.
"A great flag is timeless and communicates swiftly and potently the essence of the country it represents. A flag should carry sufficient dignity to be appropriate for all situations in which New Zealanders might be represented. It should speak to all Kiwis," the panel said.
The panel will choose four final designs by mid-September, and New Zealanders will vote for their favorite in a November referendum.
But even then, changing the flag is by no means a certainty. After a favorite alternative flag is chosen, it will be pitted head-to-head with the current flag in a second referendum to be held in March.