Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Flying the Flag

In the last few weeks of seeing flags of twenty nations all over the place – even permanently painted onto the pavement in our town! – I have been reflecting again on our country’s aspirations about a national flag.

The fact that Australia blatantly copied ours a century ago doesn’t mean that both nations should hang onto a dated design forever. It’s time for a change, and this 2005 competition winner by Kyle Lockwood still seems to me to be one that we could have proudly waved alongside the others. It has just the right balance of the traditional and the imaginative.

There were two embarrassing moments at a Jetboat Sprint competition in Idaho a few years ago. The Australians won and had to do a winners' circuit with their big flag and there was quite a lot of discussion between Kiwis and Aussies as to which flag was which. The selection was eventually agreed and off went the winners for the victory lap. However, halfway round, the flag caught on their hot exhaust and burst into flame. As if this weren’t embarrassment enough in USA, where burning the flag is a real no-no, it was later discovered that everyone was wrong. The Australians had flown – and set alight – the New Zealand flag.

I know it's not the most important issue in the country today. But let’s at least keep the discussion going.