Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Stand for... Something

229 Responses

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Yes it could be one of those mosaics made from thousands of smaller pictures. And a stereogram as well, to give us the first flag people stare at crosseyed by choice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,


    So simple, effective and has been our de facto flag for a couple of decades.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3222 posts Report Reply

  • Jarno van der Linden,

    Or do away with the fabric all together and make the flag an actual 3D-printed cloud.

    I don’t like a predominantly black flag. Colours in national flags are supposed to stand for something, e.g red for strength, white for peace, blue for water and naval prowess. What does black signify about the New Zealand identity?

    Also, as a guideline I think a flag should be simple enough that a child can draw it from memory.

    Nelson • Since Oct 2007 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm with Hillary, my favourite too, but I don't think Key's flag panel would consider it, not jingoistic enough

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    and somewhat reminiscent of a ponytail

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1938 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I’m with Hillary, my favourite too, but I don’t think Key’s flag panel would consider it, not jingoistic enough

    Me too – have flown the Hudertwasser, will fly it again. One of the things that’s made me disconnect from the process is that design has never looked likely to be on ‘the list’ we get to vote on.
    It seems very unlikely we’ll get a majority in favour of any one new design. So the exercise looked doomed from the start.
    But the big disconnect was and is Key’s ‘branding’ comment. I’m battling the fear we could end up with something far worse (silver fern on black? Please no.)
    Changing the flag because is being driven by leaders who see it as a marketing tool for NZ Inc. And the ‘Stand Up’ campaign looks like their first slick PR stunt.
    I’m so allergic to this concept of the nation – with its anti-democratic baggage and suggestion the highest ideals we stand for involve maximising the amoral extraction of ‘shareholder’ profit – and so mistrustful of those who promulgate it – I can’t see past that.
    So while a change isn’t something I’m passionate about, ‘leave it to those of us who care’ doesn’t seem an option. It’s possible to care negatively :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to linger,

    somewhat reminiscent of a ponytail

    That rules it out completely!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Jarno van der Linden,

    What does black signify about the New Zealand identity?

    The mongrel game for gentlemen to watch.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    ‘leave it to those of us who care’ doesn’t seem an option. It’s possible to care negatively :)

    In the face of what seems yet another "icon of corporate mismanagement within New Zealand popular culture", “caring negatively” looks like a saving grace.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,


    The White Feather Flag.

    I would like to register my negative careing about this option. It is loaded with baggage, that could effect the New Zealand armed forces recruitment drives, for historic reasons, along with a whole lot of other tins of worms.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I remember this disgraceful shambles. We were living within spitting distance of the Wellington Show buildings, in Mt Cook.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,


    OK, here's my take on the flag thing.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Christie, in reply to David Hood,

    My hesitation about patriotism and its close relative nationalism is that it always comes across as black-and-white thinking. And that's a trap. As individuals and as societies we are complicated. There is no national character; there are just filtered views that sometimes look like points of difference. Even the responders to this article have tried to emphasise stereotypes that they would like to be the basis of New Zealand patriotism: we are humble, they say; we are good generalists; we are this, we are that. For every rule you give me about the national character, I will give you a hundred exceptions from the people I've known.

    Wellington • Since May 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I remember this disgraceful shambles. We were living within spitting distance of the Wellington Show buildings, in Mt Cook.

    Those wretched "It's 1990, Think Positive" stickers were everywhere in Auckland. Presumably someone was paid to go about placing them on pedestrian crossing push buttons and suchlike.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Marianne Elliott,

    the following reasons to save Campbell Live, all of which seem distinctively NZ values

    Great stuff Marianne. Another thing to love about JC is that he values science (in reference to the story on the Hikurangi Subduction Zone last night). That immediately differentiates him from the vile Hosking.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    Are we to really to go back to the era when movie theaters began with playing the national anthem, and everyone stood up ?

    And those who didn't were probably communists and teachers ...

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to william blake,


    I love the Pleiades as a symbol of unity.

    Apart from the fact that the main star, Alcyone (pronounced Alckie one) is about 367.71 light years away and the light left there more that 200 years before NZ was even a sparkle in the eyes of The Big Five
    It may surprise a few but Hawaii, the bach location of choice by our dear leader, was British in the same war we were until it was illegally annexed to the good ol' capitalists of the US of Eh? and still has the Union Jack on its flag, go figure.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,


    Garrick Tremain on the public meeting in Christchurch where a whole ten people turned up.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to BenWilson,

    …<until you reach the sludge>


    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Alfie,

    In contrast I attended a packed, but little advertised meeting last night in Wellington on New Zealand's response to climate change. I happened to see a mention on Facebook but there was no other obvious publicity. Yet the high school hall was full and the audience included a wide age range. There were many well informed speakers from the audience. No ministers of course. A few public servants - from the Ministry of the Environment which is running the consultation and reps from other ministries - sat on the stage and had to bear the brunt of the audience's anger at lack of government action or care about such an urgent issue. The flag consultation was referred to by many speakers. It is always heartening to hear smart and concerned young people, as they will inherit our mess, and one 17 year old spoke with great timing and delivery about accountability.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3222 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    This is what the consultation is about. Short time frame and only a couple more public meetings. But if you have a few minutes do send a response. It is standing for something.


    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3222 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    As I thought would happen – the officials (who likely see the Minister’s position on CC negotiations equally as depraved as the audience sees it) are expected to take the heat. Grosser is a coward. If I were one of those MfE officials – I’d take a PG out against Mr Grosser.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    Though I personally don’t attach priority to the need to change New Zealand’s flag, I’m conflicted in my attitude to New Zealand nationalism, which is part of patriotism.

    I did some reading about nationalism a few months ago. I’m sure the words “nation” and “nationalism” have been used for a long time, but it seems that the idea of creating a country with a national identity was an outcome of the first world war, with the splitting up of empires into smaller “national” units. I suppose places like Spain and France existed as countries before then, but it seems they each had several cultures and languages, and wouldn’t have been “nations”. What they had was common subjection to a particular ruling group.

    The idea that a “nation” can have a set of national characteristics seems fairly recent. And from what I can gather, it seems largely driven from the top down, by those who want power over the rest of us (not necessarily for malign reasons) or use us to make money. The point of identifying national characteristics seems to have a lot to do with distinguishing “us” from “them”: a form of the territoriality and competition for resources seen between groups of our hominid/simian/mammalian relatives.

    Of course there are plenty of cultural attributes associated with specific regions. In many parts of the world, these don’t coincide with political boundaries. Examples I can think of offhand are Kurdistan, Belgium and Frisia.

    Accepting the 21st Century reality of a world divided into sovereign countries, I can see why leaders might look to promote anything that seems to bind that country together. While I feel secure in being part of a group, I’m beginning to wonder how important it is to identify a set of characteristics with political borders.

    In terms of New Zealand as a “nation”, I don’t know that pre-European Maori thought of themselves in relation to other peoples much at all. When Europeans arrived here, they were looking to include these islands as part of Empires, so I don’t think much thought was given to the islands as a “nation”.

    When I was young, people still called Britain “home”, but were very aware that New Zealand was different from Britain in a number of ways. We did used to talk about a New Zealand “cultural cringe”. It was a common joke that famous people were asked, almost as soon as they stepped off the boat or plane “What do you think of New Zealand?” I guess, for some people, the idea of NZ as a nation, had formed.

    I started to think about it more after time away from New Zealand. I remember being fascinated, during my first trip to Australia, by how the country seemed to be asserting itself, like a teenager rebelling against its British parents. Theatres no longer necessarily used a British accent; some popular singers sang with a more identifiably Australian singing accent. I heard an old man on a bus berating a couple of “new Australians” saying that they should speak English. Clearly, some Australians were looking to define an “Australian-ness”.

    I care about being a citizen of this country. I certainly find myself more at ease in the society of southern New Zealand than I do in many other places. I somehow know more of the arcane rules of being in a pub here than I do in England, even though I’m just one generation removed from Britain. I do tend to hope the New Zealand side will win, in any sport; I like to hear about New Zealanders doing well internationally. But my attitude to nationalism and national characteristics seems to be changing.

    Pretty much anything that we can identify with New Zealand can be found elsewhere, including icons such as “number eight wire mentality”, “a fair go”, the (sadly waning) egalitarianism. Many aspects of Maori culture differ from Polynesian cultures only in extent. The particular combination of land, people, culture etc. is unique to this country. The same could be said for any country or any region of a country.

    From time to time I have the opportunity to show New Zealand to relatives and friends who live in other countries. I feel very lucky to be here, and I guess I feel some pride in it.

    Perhaps it’s because if someone from this place did something well, and I come from here too, we share many of the same characteristics, and I could easily have been that person who achieved.

    As populations become more mobile, places like Europe seem to be joining and splitting at the same time: while politicians and bureaucrats attempt to bring several countries closer together, individual regions – sometimes within countries – seem to work harder to establish identity and, in some cases, independence (Basques, for example). I’m not sure what this means for nationalism.

    For the most part (depending on what you think about Antarctica) New Zealand doesn’t really share borders with other countries. But all borders are becoming more porous. I think something like 1 person in 5 people in this country was born elsewhere. These people are changing what it means to be a New Zealander. And that will keep changing. (It’s fascinating to read about characteristics that were identified with New Zealanders in the past – at least by some writers – such as a preoccupation with money, a pragmatic attitude to honesty, and tallness.)

    I’m no longer sure whether it’s appropriate for a sovereign state to be associated with a single, predominant culture, although I can see that there can be problems if it’s not (e.g. Balkans, Cyprus etc.)

    All this leaves me wondering about patriotism, which I think exists in the framework of a politically defined state, as distinct from the very positive feelings I have about New Zealand, and belonging here. People who’ve fought under New Zealand’s flag seem to see both as the same thing. I think I can understand that. I think patriotism has something to do with fear of losing what the people of a country have, or the perception that something has been taken, and must be returned (Isn’t this why populations support attacking another country?).

    Patriotism seems to take several forms. Danish people seem particularly patriotic. Birthday cakes are decorated with little national flags, and many houses have flagpoles, where the national flag is flown (mostly on special occasions, I think). I think some of Danish patriotism is associated with having been occupied by the Nazis. It’s very strong, but doesn’t seem strident in the way that the patriotism of the USA or France appears to me. Australia seems to be moving to a more strident nationalism: it’s only in recent years that I’ve heard the word “unAustralian” used.

    Patriotism seems very bound to the idea that the world is a place where, if you don’t remain vigilant as part of a group, and aren’t prepared to fight to keep what you have as a group, you’ll lose it. Maybe it really is like that. Perhaps that’s a reality of being human.

    I realise that all this is half-baked and inconclusive. I can see inconsistencies in it. I’m just interested in hearing information and thoughts from others to help develop my thinking further.

    PS. My earlier comment about teachers and communists was a joke: the sort of thing said by certain elderly and middle aged men when I was young.

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    Australia seems to be moving to a more strident nationalism: it’s only in recent years that I’ve heard the word “unAustralian” used.

    Un-Australian's been around for a while. Stuart Littlemore's analysis on the ABC's Media Watch of the word's heavy employment by the media back at the time of the 1996 Parliament House riot gave the impression that it's very much a top-down "Australianism".

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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