Flag That

A flag that is inclusive. Is that what you see when you look at the current New Zealand flag? Who exactly is it including...?

To me a flag is more than a piece of cloth, it's more than just a national icon, it's the face of our country to the rest of the world, it is what we hang our pride on and what brings us together as a multicultural society -- it's the one thing that we should all be able to relate to as individuals, no matter our heritage, ethnicity, religious beliefs or cultural identity. All the things that make us delightfully different should be respected, represented and reflected upon that cloth.

I ultimately decided to participate in the governments initiative that called on all Kiwi's to put forward a design for a flag referendum (the first of its kind in the world to my knowledge) because growing up half-Maori and half-Pakeha, I know the value of knowing and understanding ones identity and if there is anything that I have learnt in the past 32 years it's that being proud of where you come from and who you are is invaluable, that's why I would like to propose a more inclusive flag, a flag that acknowledges what makes us unique, whilst at the same time making it culturally sensitive and timeless.

If flags were first cousins... (Left: NZ flag, Right: AUS flag) 

My Own Brief

The new flag must reflect on who we were yesterday, consider who we are today and anticipate who we want to be tomorrow.

This is part of everything that I design and part of my own personal design philosophy and signature

To help me achieve this, I did some research on flag design and came across a great read called, 'Good Flag, Bad Flag', compiled by Ted Kaye.

These are Kaye's five basic principles of flag design:

1. Keep It Simple - The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory . . .
2. Use Meaningful Symbolism - The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes . . . 
3. Use 2-3 Basic Colours - Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set . . . 
4. No Lettering or Seals - Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal . . . 
5. Be Distinctive or Be Related - Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections . . . 

Papamoanarangi (Land, Sea, Sky)

With some guiding principles I got to work, and this is the outcome and my proposal

Flag Name

  • Papamoanarangi (A Maori name that means, 'Land Sea Sky')

Papamoanarangi (Land, Sea, Sky)


"Don't just see New Zealand, feel New Zealand" (Possible branding and marketing ideas. Typeface inspiration )

  • I've used complimentary colours that reflect the natural beauty found around our country. I've intentionally avoided black as I associate that colour with death and the national rugby team.

Design inspired by the rule of thirds


  • The paneling is divided proportionately inspired by the rule of thirds (W x H = 60%, 10%, 30%) and represents an abstract image of common scenery around our coasts. Also each panel represents one of the countries three main islands; North, South and Stewart Island
  • I've used the red Southern Cross stars as a reference to NZ's current flag (I didn't use the silver fern as I feel it reflects and is more appropriate in the context of sporting and military culture)
  • I've designed the flag to look contemporary and minimal so that it is easy for a child to draw from memory and so that it looks distinguishable at any angle, scale or format.

The flag must be distinguishable in any format and at any scale or angle

Check list

  1. Keep it simple - CHECK!  Three panels and four stars
  2. Use Meaningful symbolism - CHECK!  Southern Cross and abstract image of NZ scenery
  3. Use 2-3 basic colours - ALMOST!  Four colours in total (excluding white) but three of the colours are of a similar palette, so that may make a difference :)
  4. No lettering or seals - CHECK! 
  5. Be distinctive or be related - CHECK! There is no other flag out there like this design, this should solve the embarrassing confusion between the Australian and New Zealand flag by those unfamiliar with the differences between the two lands from down under.
  6. Reflect on who we were yesterday - CHECK! Southern Cross stars and navy blue panel
  7. Consider who we are today - CHECK! A modern, inclusive society represented through two new colour choices and neutral/abstract forms
  8. Anticipate who we want to be tomorrow - CHECK! (I believe New Zealanders are constantly mindful of our natural environment, we pride ourselves on being "100% Pure NZ". We are an isolated island nation built out of our native flora and fauna, it's what makes our land unique, it also sustains and nourishes us, not only as a people but also as an economy. Aotearoa will always be a world leading nation when it comes to valuing our land, sea and sky and it seems only fitting then that the flag is all about this natural, beautiful environment we cherish.
Third cousins?

Be Ready To Vote!
All New Zealanders enrolled to vote will be asked to take part in two referendums.
Referendum One
20 November – 11 December 2015
You’ll be asked to rank the four flag alternatives selected by the Panel. Rather than picking one favourite, you’ll be ranking the flag options from your most preferred to your least preferred.
Referendum Two
3 March – 24 March 2016
You’ll be asked to choose between the current New Zealand Flag and the preferred alternative design selected in the first referendum. The results of both referendums are binding. This means the flag with the most votes in the second referendum will be the official flag of New Zealand. There will be full instructions in your voting pack for both referendums, so you’ll get all the information you need to help you complete your voting papers.
To take part you must be correctly enrolled before voting starts. You're eligible to enrol and vote in the referendums if you: 
  • will be 18 years or older when voting begins, and
  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and
  • have lived in New Zealand for more than one year continuously at some time in your life.
These will be postal referendums, so your voting papers will be sent in the mail. Enrol, check or update your details now to make sure that you're correctly enrolled and your papers will go to the right address. You can do this online or by calling 0800 36 76 56

Now watch this amazing TED Talk by Roman Mars, because:

"Every great nation deserves a great flag!"

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