You are here
Fans of CBS's hit series, The Big Bang Theory, know that Sheldon (that's Dr. Cooper to you) stages a "Fun With Flags" web broadcast. Soon, if art imitates life, he will do a special program on the flag change coming next year to New Zealand.
After many years of internal debate, New Zealand, finally, has decided to liberate its flag from prior colonial British influence to ditch the Union Jack forever. Perhaps, the key to this decision rests mainly with that island nation's native Maori past, not the least being the decades of Maoris playing rugby for the champion All Blacks, and, of course, the pre-game haka, a traditional Maori war chant.
History tells us that, at one time, "The sun never set on the British Empire," a collective truism of countries around the globe that belonged to the Commonwealth, and flew the Union Jack in the canton (upper left placement) of the flag. One by one, when these nations achieved independence, many designed new flags that retained no symbolic reference to a British past.
Canada was one of the last Commonwealth nations to opt for a new flag in 1965, when it voted on the red and white Maple Leaf design. After Canada changed, only three countries (and many smaller islands, including Bermuda) kept the Union Jack: Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji (Quiz time: What's the only U.S. state that flies the Union Jack?)
Internal political pressure built up in Australia and New Zealand to recognize their native peoples (Maoris and Aborigines) and also their immigrant histories by creating new flags with no association to the old ones.
The government of New Zealand opened the design to any submission, and winnowed the selection to forty (shown above). A vote in 2016 will determine the eventual winner.
This all-inclusive goal for New Zealand to celebrate all its peoples with a new flag is an idea whose time has come.
(Quiz answer: Hawaii)