New Zealand Wants To Redesign National Flag

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 31, 2014 2:10 PM EST

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key wants to redesign the national flag to give it a distinct design when compared to Australia. A referendum for the change could happen this 2014.

REUTERS/NIGEL MARPLE
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key smiles after the general election in Auckland November 26, 2011. REUTERS/NIGEL MARPLE

"I'd like to see a change," he said. Mr. Key personally wants to remove the Union Jack from the existing national flag design and put an elfin silver fern to the modernized New Zealand flag.

"If you see this flag at an All Blacks game in Twickenham or at the Olympics in Sochi or anywhere else you know it's us. When you see the (existing) New Zealand flag you're not sure whether Australia is playing," he added.

Predominantly blue with a constellation of stars on the right-hand side and a small Union Jack on the left, the existing New Zealand flag is very much similar to that of Australia, which has become a source of constant irritation between the rival nations. In an instance during the mid-1980s, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke arrived in Ottawa and was greeted by a New Zealand flag.

Sir Jerry Mateparae, governor-general and Queen Elizabeth II's representative to New Zealand, supports the move.

 "From the First World War onwards, we have been looking at our identity and we are much more comfortable with our place in the world today as being in the Pacific," Mateparae told Wellington's Dominion Post newspaper.

"A hundred years ago there was a greater affiliation to the United Kingdom. We do now see ourselves as deeply seated and rooted in the Pacific."

He said it has been 70 years that New Zealand declared independence from Britain. It is time to make the change and sever any symbols of colonial rule from the nation's flag.

"New Zealanders need to get a sense of their own national identity," he added.

"In my view, the silver fern is something which is applied to our greatest sporting teams," he noted.

He claimed it has an international recognition and cachet. It's part of the modern new look of New Zealand.

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(Photo: REUTERS/NIGEL MARPLE / )
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key smiles after the general election in Auckland November 26, 2011. REUTERS/NIGEL MARPLE
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