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New Zealand Flag Contest Finalists Are in, People Are Underwhelmed

Business Insider
In the search for a new flag that doesn't so closely resemble the Australian one from next door, New Zealand took to social media to encourage residents to create their own entries into the contest. The votes aren't being cast until November, but already the massive pool of entries has been narrowed down to 4 finalists, and people aren't exactly thrilled with the result.
Putting aside the fact that none of the more flourished, MS paint entries made the cut, even the one which featured a laser-eyed Kiwi, the four options are generally pretty uninspiring. Two of them are almost exactly the same. Three out of four finalists feature the silver fern, which is New Zealand's national symbol, whilst the fourth features the Koru, a Maori symbol which is also a fern, just a curled up one.
The Koru flag is definitely the most interesting and distinct of the four, but that's a bit like saying that herpes is the most manageable STD, you still wouldn't want to get it. After the finalist is picked from these four in November, it will go up against the current flag next March. According to iPredict, a prediction model that takes social media reactions and general market data into account, the odds of New Zealand actually getting a new flag have fallen to 30% since the final four were selected.
People are seemingly particularly unhappy that the 'Red Peak' flag did not make it into the final four. Designed by Aaron Dustin, the flag features two shades of blue above a white framed red triangle. Mountains are a huge part of Kiwi culture and many have commented that the flag accurately represents the Maori 'Rangi and Papa' creation myth, as well as relating to Sir Edmund Hillary and, less obviously, The Lord of the Rings. It was also designed in such a way that a child could easily draw it. Dustin spearheaded a sizeable online initiative to gain support for the Red Peak, but sadly it wasn't enough.
The voting initiative itself supposedly cost New Zealand $26 million, which is only serving to add to the feeling of irritation which is rippling through the country. Currently the silver fern on the black background is getting the most support, largely due to its similarity to the emblem used by the New Zealand All Blacks. John Key, the prime minister of New Zealand, also supports the silver fern as the best choice.
Whatever ends up happening, the idea of using social media promotion to vote on something like a flag is still a solid idea, but perhaps one that could have benefited from promotion more directly aimed at artists, or a panel of voters who favoured more outlandish designs. Narrowing 40 finalists down to 4 in one fell swoop might have also been a bit too jarring. In any case, it's nice to see New Zealand trying to appeal to its people in progressive ways, even if it ends up falling flat.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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New Zealand Flag Contest Finalists Are in, People Are Underwhelmed Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, September 04, 2015 Rating: 5

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