It could be said Bay of Plenty residents either think New Zealand’s current flag is spot on or don’t take too kindly to its $25million discussion – contributing just 181 designs, or three per cent, to the country’s flag referendum.
The Flag Consideration Panel released this week some of the statistics behind more than 5800 design suggestions received so far – with less than a week until submissions close.
Flag Consideration Panel chair Professor John Burrows reiterates the principles the panel will be considering when reviewing the suggestions.
“We’ll be looking for flag designs that first and foremost reflect New Zealand’s identity, as shared with us in the values and themes that New Zealanders have expressed so far throughout this process.”
The panel have published values and themes each week on www.standfor.co.nzthroughout the process to guide people considering designing a flag.
John says these have remained relatively consistent, and included history and heritage, freedom, equality, being a kiwi, independent, culture, environment, tradition, unity and being a Pacific nation.
“When reviewing flag designs we will also be looking at elements of flag design - that flag designs are timeless, can work in a variety of contexts and are simple, uncluttered and have good contrast.
“Colour is important as fewer colours help keep the design simple and bold. Balance is important in good design, as is style and size of any symbol. Stylised objects work best and the design needs to be capable of being rendered in a variety of sizes without distortion.”
The Panel provided a breakdown of designs by region, colour, symbols and themes. John notes that when reviewed against the percentage of New Zealand population, the greatest number of designs had been received from those in Hawke’s Bay.
“The average percentage of designs per capita within New Zealand is zero point one per cent, with Hawkes Bay leading at 1.01 per cent. Others include Northland, 0.35 per cent, Nelson, 0.24 per cent, Wellington, 0.17 per cent and Auckland, 0.12 per cent.
Predominant colours are, in this order, white, blue and red. Symbols and themes include the Southern Cross, koru, fern and Maori culture.
In terms of total flag designs suggested the Bay of Plenty has contributed 181, or three per cent, behind Auckland’s 1638, 28 per cent, the 1604 international designs, 27 per cent, and Wellington’s 820, 14 per cent.
John says this is a unique opportunity in our lifetimes and encourages everyone to suggest their flag designs before July 16. From there, the panel will start the next steps in its rigorous process to determine the four alternative flag designs.
It will announce a preliminary long list of about 50-75 flag designs by mid-August and the final four alternatives by mid-September.
The Flag Consideration Panel was appointed in February 2015 following nominations by a cross Party group of MPs.
The Panel is independent of government and has been provided with a set budget within which it is required to conduct a public engagement campaign that will culminate in the recommendation of four alternative flag designs to the responsible Minister, Bill English.