It’s about options: thoughts on the NZ flag.

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I’m already reluctant to post this, and I haven’t even written it yet…

I mean, it’s not travel-related, it’s only really relevant to New Zealanders, and well… it’s a bit of a heated subject.

So before I start, let me say this post is not intended to convince you what to vote for in the upcoming referendum (new or old flag)– but to talk about the absence, of what is arguably the most logical and meaningful flag option


Why isn’t the NZ Silver Fern flag an option in the referendum?


It seems like the most obvious option right?


Whether you’re pro or anti the flag change, the referendum is happening.

And since we’re spending all this money on it (literally so much – surely they could have used a smaller budget?!) why aren’t we considering the Silver Fern flag.


Everybody knows it.  

It has meaning and an identity for Kiwis – that’s 80% of the job done, isn’t it?!


I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s also confused (and disappointed) as to why  this flag isn’t one of our final options in the referendum, and his article he quite nicely sums it up as a missed opportunity’.

I  did some research to see if there was a valid reason why it hadn’t been included, and could only find potential reason… it’s trademarked by the New Zealand Rugby, and they don’t want to give it up.

Now I don’t know if this is 100% true – as I also found sites that contradict this, and say the trademark wasn’t the problem –  but the design just wasn’t chosen by the ‘flag committee’.

But if this is the reason, it is slightly disappointing.

If I have my ‘business hat‘ on, then I can see why NZ Rugby wouldn’t want to gve it up – it’s a strong brand, well-marketed and pulls in some pretty incredible financial benefits.


But this is the identity of New Zealand… 


The AB’s trademark also includes the words “All Blacks” underneath the fern, so I wonder if there is away we can get around any potential trademark rules?


Can’t we compromise?


We would remove the words (obvs) and could rework the fern shape so it’s different from the All Blacks one – there’s plenty of options!


nz silver fern flag options



It’s not like the AB’s (and I love them, I really do) are the only users of the fern anyway.

It’s on the uniform of heaps of our other sportspeople, our money, our passports, our coat of arms, and it’s even on the graves of many of our WW1 & WW2 soldiers.

And besides, even Ritchie McCaw himself said that he would support the use of the silver fern in a new NZ flag!

If it’s good enough for Ritchie – it’s good enough, period. n


It means something. It’s iconic.


Wikipedia already calls the Silver Fern flag, the ‘unofficial flag of New Zealand (yes, I realize the obvious flaws in quoting Wikipedia – though it is still the world’s 7th most popular website, so surely has some significance).

I know there are some options in the referendum which include a fern – but I just don’t know if they’re quite right… (they’re possibly not on fleek!)


nz new flag options


We have actually reinvented the wheel.


It’s like when they remade Willy Wonka – it was OK, but wouldn’t say it was on the same level as the original. You can’t beat Gene Wilder.

These new options are also quite cluttered… a good flag should be simple, striking and unique (not my words – got that from a flag enthusiast’s website!)

Canada have a great flag and so do Brazil (personal opinion) – they’re clean, simple and iconic.


nz flag debate


These posts (click here , or here!) list other great flags with similar rational.

What’s your favourite flag?

(Ahh, you know who I’m beginning to sound like…)



Anyway, as the silver fern on black flag, is not an option in this referendum, I obviously can’t vote for it and for the sake of saving a few argumentative comments below, I won’t say which flag I intend to vote for – though it will be one that contains the fern, as this  symbol means something to me, as a New Zealander.


I just wish we could have included, what seems like such an obvious option. 

It’s nice to have options. (Good options)



  1. I’ve heard a lot about this here in Australia (especially from Kiwi coworkers!), and it’ll be exciting to see which flag NZ ends up with. I think my favorite of those four is the top right since it pays tribute to the current flag while also making it something new, although it’s really a shame you can’t just use the All Blacks flag!

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