From 10,000+ to 40 possible flags


The Flag Consideration Panel has whittled 10,292 flag designs submitted down to a long-list of 40.

If you click on the link you’ll see who submitted each one.

I am open to change but am not keen on the black and white or black and grey ones second and third from the left in the third line and I don’t think the second from the left in the bottom line is a distinctively New Zealand image.

My favourite is third down on the left, designed by Kyle Lockwood, supported, or variations of which were submitted, by 12 others.

The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa’s peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. The bright blue represents our clear atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean, over which all New Zealanders, or their ancestors, crossed to get here. The Southern Cross represents our geographic location in the antipodes. It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands.

Chair of the panel, Professor John Burrows says:

. . . “We would like to thank everyone for their design suggestions and we’ve been impressed with the very high standard. The Panel made a unanimous decision and selected flag designs we believe best reflect New Zealand’s identity, as shared with us in the values and themes that New Zealanders expressed throughout this process.

In reviewing alternatives, we were guided that a 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 vision for its future.

The Panel has made its preliminary selection of flag designs that it believes best represent the range of suggestions it has received. It is important that those designs are timeless, can work in a variety of contexts, are simple, uncluttered, balanced and have good contrast,” said Professor Burrows. . .

Public meetings didn’t attract many people. That isn’t surprising these days and the process has engendered a lot of interest:

10,292 alternative designs published

• 850,000+ online visits

• 6,000+ visits to workshops and information stands

• 1.18m+ people reached by Facebook

• 146,000+ views of the NZ flag history video

• 43,000+ New Zealanders have shared what they stand for (online & via post)

For the statiscially minded:

Stand for NZ's photo.
In an open letter the panel says:

We want to thank everyone for the 10,292 designs you’ve suggested. Each of these was viewed by every Panel member. We have been impressed with the very high standard and greatly appreciate the thought and hard work that went into these designs. As a Panel, we have now selected a long list of designs for further investigation as part of the design review process.

A great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory. 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. Our hope is that New Zealanders will see themselves reflected in these flags’ symbols, colour and stories.

In reviewing flag designs, first and foremost, we were guided by what thousands of Kiwis across a range of communities told us when they shared what is special to them about New Zealand. This provided the Panel, and flag designers, with valuable direction as to how New Zealanders see our country and how those values might best be expressed in a new flag.

The message was clear, and the Panel agreed. A 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.

In finalising the long list we invited a number of cultural (including tikanga), vexillology (the study of flags), art and design experts to review the selection, to ensure the designs are workable and there are no known impediments. Detailed due diligence will now be completed on these designs, including robust intellectual property checks.

As a Panel, we’ve been appointed by government to determine the 4 alternative flag designs in a neutral and unbiased way. We are committed to doing that. We have selected for the long list designs that we believe best reflect the values New Zealanders have shared with us and you can view these in the long list gallery:

By mid-September we will select the 4 alternatives which eligible voters will rank in the first binding referendum later this year. This will be the opportunity for people to express their preferences and make choices. We encourage you to make sure you are enrolled to vote so that you can take part in this nationally significant process. In March next year, New Zealand will make history when it votes between the current flag and the preferred alternative.

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa.


Flag Consideration Panel:

  • Prof John Burrows (Chair), ONZM, QC
  • Nicky Bell
  • Peter Chin, CNZM
  • Julie Christie, ONZM
  • Rod Drury
  • Kate De Goldi (Deputy Chair)
  • Beatrice Faumuina, ONZM
  • Lt Gen (Rtd) Rhys Jones, CNZM
  • Stephen Jones
  • Sir Brian Lochore, ONZ, KNZM, OBE
  • Malcolm Mulholland
  • Hana O’Regan.

And for those who aren’t sure if we should be considering a change:

Brent Desmond Cook's photo.

Margaret Mahy 21.3.1936 – 23.7.2012


Friends gave our daughter a copy of The Man Whose Mother Was A Pirate for her first birthday.

It was the first Margaret Mahy book I’d read and I was hooked from the first page.

Her wonderful way with words, her quirky use of language and unique view of the world made her books firm favourites in our household.

I read of her death yesterday, with great sadness.

The New Zealand Book Council details her achievements and contributions to literature here.

Storylines profiles her here.

A Kate De Goldi tribute in the Listener is here.

Her essay A Dissolving Ghost, Possible Operations of Truth in Children’s Books and the Lives of Children is here.

At NZ On Screen is  the documentary Made in New Zealand – Margaret Mahy. (Hat Tip for those link to Toby Manhire who writes: Weaver of magic, wearer of wigs, Mahy lives on in thousands of homes in New Zealand and elsewhere, her pages wrinkled from reading after reading.

Beattie’s Book Blog has a story which sums up her reputation and influence:

. . . One little story from a visit I made to an American library back in the late 1980’s. I was in the public library in the
small Connecticut town of Westport with the pre-school son of a friend. At one stage I took a photograph of him sitting looking at a picture book and was immediately reprimanded by the librarian who tersely asked “had I not seen the sign saying no photography?”. I apologised and upon noticing my accent she asked me where I was from. New Zealand I said. Oh my she said I don’t suppose you know
Margaret Mahy? Indeed I do I said, I know Margaret very well. Oh in that case she said please feel free to take as many photographs as you like! She then gave me a guided tour of the library which included two large full colour posters featuring Margaret and her books. And she talked endlessly and enthusiastically about Margaret’s genius and about listening her speak at a librarian’s conference.And then insisted on making me a cup of coffee. . .

She was a treasure, her books will continue to be so.

In memory of a great story person I offer these words of comfort from Brian Andreas at Story People  to those who knew and lover her:

It is still so new & all we see is the empty space, but that is not how it
is in the landscape of the heart. There, there is no empty space & she still
laughs & grapples with ideas & plans & nods wisely with each of us
in turn. We are proud to have known her. We are proud to have called her friend.

Montana Book Award Finalists announced


The finalists in the Montana Book Awards include, The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi which won the NZ Post Children’s Book Award.

Ladies A Plate: Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston is a finalist in the Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture section. This is an intergenerational book. It’s full of recipes my mother used to make and I gave a copy to my daughter.

Another finalist in that section is The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s clinary History by Helen Leach (and yes, records show it was cooked in New Zealand before Australia).

The full list of finalists is here.

Kate De Goldi wins award with 10 PM Question


 Kate De Goldi won the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards with The 10 PM Question.

That book was also the winner of the Young Adult section.

The other winners were:

Non Fiction: Back & Beyond New Zealand Painting for the Young and Curious by Gregory O’Brien.

Junior  Fiction: Old Drumble by Jack Lasenby.

Picture Book: Roadworks by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock.

Picture Book Honour Award: Piggety-Wiggety Jiggety Jig by Diana Neild, illustrated by Philip Webb.

Children’s Choice Award: The Were-Nana by Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson.

Best First Book: Violence 101  by Denis Wright.

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