I was not interested in the debate around changing the New Zealand flag during the public submissions process. Public opinion seemed to be split between people lolzing at all the badly designed attempts at flags involving jandals, sheep, and fish and chips, and people raging that the government was spending money on the bloody flag referendum instead of addressing child poverty, the TPPA and other difficult matters.
But then the long list of 40 designs was announced and I realised, yeah, I can do this. I can wade in and have opinions and put my expert analysis skillz to work.
So to save the Flag Consideration Panel further work, I shall now go through and eliminate all the unsuitable designs which will leave us with the one true flag that will guide as, as a nation, through the new millennium and beyond.
Step one: eliminate all designs that look like a civil defence tsunami warning sign
Korus are nice and all – and people like them because they are highly symbolic – but the ones included on the flag designs all look like the giant wave of destruction on a tsunami sign.
This will mean that if one of those flags is chosen, people will look at it and think “Arrgh! A tsunami is coming! Run to higher ground!” Or worse – they’ll see a tsunami warning sign and instead of fleeing to safety, they’ll instead feel strong patriotic pride in New Zealand, go Kiwi, etc.
So let’s cull those korus:
Step two: eliminate all designs that look like the logo of a sports funding agency and/or the basis of the national costume worn by a Miss New Zealand in the 1980s
It’s that darn silver fern. The trouble is, people are so in love with the Canadian flag. They look at it and say, “Canadia has a leaf on their flag, so why don’t we have a leaf on ours?” Because New Zealand is not Canada. We have no obvious ties to Canada. Unless you count Céline Dion’s three No.1 albums.
As well as being a popular symbol in the New Zealand’s sporting world, there’s a much more serious risk. If any sort of silver fern design is selected, this will also do immense retrospective damage to New Zealand in beauty pageants of the ’80s.
As I have previously examined, a popular design for the national costume section was a black gown with a silver fern motif. If this becomes the flag, then all these Miss New Zealands (and the Duchess of Cambridge!) will suddenly look like they’ve dressed up in the flag, which is about the tackiest thing ever. And prior to this there was absolutely nothing tacky about their dresses.
So let’s make like the early settlers and clear those ferns:
Step three: eliminate all designs that look inspired by the 1990 Commonwealth Games logo
So much symbolism! It’s round which resembles a ball, which is used in a lot of games. But the round shape also resembles a globe and therefore the red stripe is the mighty British Empire. The stripe also represents a running track, which is used in a lot of other games. The four stars represent the Southern Cross because it is not possible to live in the southern hemisphere and not have strangely erotic feelings about the Southern Cross.
So anything with too much symbolism (which, let’s be fair, is a lot of the designs) and/or with more stars than Celebrity Treasure Island cannot be included. Just think of the headache.
The Games are over and so is that Southern Cross:
Step four: And that leaves us with…
I thought this elimination process would be useful, but honestly it’s turned out to be a bit of a disaster.
The circular flag design looks like a modified goatse and/or a ’90s body piercing loop. The interlocking koru is just Gordon Walters lite. That leaves us with the two triangles. One is almost a square (ugh, Switzerland!) and I find the chopped-off corners of the triangle to be geometrically distressing. I don’t like feeling geometric distress.
This leaves us with the one with the red base. It is simple and geometrically pleasing and not drowning in symbolism. I like it, but do we want it as a flag? I can see it as the emblem of the resistance movement in a dystopian kidult TV series, but I’m not sure if it would work flying from Parliament.
Step five: I don’t even know anymore
But the emoji New Zealand flag will always be there for us.