The perfect new flag for our Capital City

Cam and I lived in Wellington for seven years and both our children were born there. I know the city and its people well and I doubt they have changed much since we lived there. It is a city full of government employees and you can bump into a politician almost any day of the week. It has lots of great places to eat and is very big on “cultural activities.” It has a modern museum and wind. Lots of wind. It is a very politically correct city.

Now a designer wants Wellingtonians to get rid of their historic flag and replace it with something that sums up New Zealand’s capital city. The whole seven years I lived in Wellington I never once saw the flag and I didn’t even know of its existence. It seems to me that the designer found one in a dusty room somewhere, dusted it off and thought, this is a great way to waste a lot of council money while drawing attention to my design skills and possibly winning me a monetary prize.

You can’t beat Wellington on a good day: the galleon cutting through the harbour, the dragon-like fish leaping high, the English flag fluttering in the breeze.

Chances are that’s not the Wellington most of us recognise, but it’s how the city’s British-designed flag sees us.

After multiple failed attempts to design a new flag in the late-1950s, Wellington asked Britain?s College of Arms to design one. This is its offering – which is still the official flag of Wellington city.

The flag has been around since the early 1960s ? not that most Wellingtonians would know. It hangs behind the mayor’s seat in the Town Hall council chamber and has?occasionally fluttered from flagpoles in Civic Square, but its rather outdated symbols have seen it fall out of favour.

Now Massey design graduate Thomas Le Bas?is proposing a competition to design a new one.

Of course, he is. This is not about promoting Wellington, this is about getting him media coverage for his design skills.

“The current flag has a very UK-centric design and misrepresents Wellington,” he said.
“Perhaps something better could be designed that could provide a positive element to Wellington’s identity. I lived in the city for 10 years and the city has the right culture to explore a process.”

A design student who speaks Jacinderease, he will go far in Wellington.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester?agreed the flag was a bit ridiculous and a relic of the past, but was cautious about a competition for a new one.

That would need to be driven by the community, and if there was an overwhelming will from Wellingtonians, then it would be something the council would support, he said.

“Until then, we are watching with interest to see what appetite there is from the community.”

The Wellington community or twitter? There is a big difference.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said?the council wondered whether Wellingtonians were even aware of the existing flag, and it was too early to say whether it would fund a competition.

“New Zealand has had a recent unhappy history in regard to flag redesigns. We wonder if there’s an appetite for ratepayers’ money to be spent on an exercise that’s likely to generate images of various local luminaries with green laser beams shooting from their eyes.”

That is a very good point MacLean makes. I myself was going to suggest an all-white flag given our politicians’ cowardice on so many issues and their inability to stand up for New Zealand’s culture and values.

Rongotai MP and former Wellington deputy mayor Paul Eagle questioned whether the city even needed a flag.

The reality was?the Absolutely Positively Wellington brand?was powerful, and the envy of many of councils, he said.

“What would a flag even be used for??I’d rather the time and money was spent on other things.”
If there was a new flag, it would have to have M?ori and cultural significance, he said.

Wellington-based artist Matt Hunt said he did not know Wellington had a flag, but was not a fan of it, saying it was colonial and out of date.

[…] Wellington broadcaster Keith Quinn?thought he could vaguely remember seeing the flag before, but was also a critic. “It’s got a bit too much English in it.?That is three too many [St George’s crosses].” […]

New Zealand was colonised by the English so a historical flag recognises that. A modern flag should recognise our new reality. Here is a flag suitable for 2018


And here is one suitable for in thirty years time if our politicians don’t grow some balls and face up to reality.