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It’s just a bunch of triangles.

If you turn it upside down and squint it looks like (insert icon/logo/motif/sports shirt of your choice).

It’s too Maori / Pakeha.

It shouldn’t need to be explained.  It needs a picture.


Like the four selected flag submissions, and any other piece of design, the Red Peak flag has it’s critics.  The above statements may not make for the best arguments, but people may simply not feel a connection to it, and I understand that completely.

I’ve followed the flag debate with a mild interest, with the plan of voting for the status quo, it all being a huge waste of our collective cash.  The ‘chosen 4’ only cemented my thoughts on that, looking cluttered and unpolished visually, and from a design point of view being a nightmare to reproduce and scale.  No reflection on the designers and I congratulate them on their success, these being essentially first concepts (concerning considering they may also be finals).

Any new flag would need to be one of the world’s best to sway me, something that says we as a nation have grown up and are proud to be front and centre on the world stage.



When I first viewed the ‘Red Peak’ design in passing I was mildly impressed.  This based on an opinion the whole thing was a farce, and that the chosen designs had destroyed the whole process anyway.  But in the design I immediately saw a section of the Union Jack – arranged into a Maori tukutuku design.  Ok, clever.   Then the other elements began to soak through.

The white stripe of a long white cloud.  A snow covered range, volcanic.  Night and day, the first to see the dawn.

An upward arrow of a thriving nation, of winners, of progressive thinking.  Bold, bright, powerful.

After reading a few comments from some struggling with the simple triangles, I created the above Red Peak gif animation to express some of the elements I myself saw.  But there is of course more to this design than a mountain range and wharenui.



flag-sizeAs a designer, I began to see how this flag would play out in designs, small icons, banners.   Ok, very well.  Simple to create, strong colours, easily reduced.  The triangle is literally a shape of strength, unbreakable. The centered design forces your eye in and up.  Alongside other flags of the world which most often travel sideways, it draws your eye.

The designs of the selected fern and star flags are impossible to draw from scratch and reduce to a muddy blur.  The black koru is, well unfortunately, a black whirlpool of death.








I love the Silver Fern black flag.  That will always be a part of NZ culture.  It is not on our flag, yet still firmly embedded as an icon of our nation.   There are very few that would vote for a black national flag but as a design, beautiful.  My fear is that by including another variation of this in our national flag, we would dilute the stark silver on black flag itself.

So how would these flags sit next to this wonderful icon of ours in a crowd.  For me, a different style of fern on another flag looks like a misprint and would hurt the fern as a single entity.  While the Red Peak compliments and enhances it’s complex design.





Flags are not expected to be literal.  Their beauty and power is in the subtle meaning of that simple colour, or that shape.  The Red Peak is clearer in it’s meaning than most of the world’s most recognised flags.   The Union Jack, the Stars and Stripes, the many three striped variations.  Without explanation most flags are a mystery, yet their simplicity makes them distinctive.  The ones that do contain a literal image are often difficult to make out from a distance and become indecipherable and clumsy.

Why do most of us find the current flag (myself included) perfectly suitable to the task?  Familiarity – and of course history.  The Red Peak is a better more distinctive design, but it is new to us and jarring.  But it does speak to many straight off the bat, a promising sign.

Am I a staunch supporter of the Red Peak flag?   As a designer, yes.  As a patriotic kiwi?  Of course I would have a hard time ticking my lifetime friend away, but the Red Peak does strike me both in meaning, visual impact, and technical use as a flag of substance.  It is simple, clean and bold.

Of course the Peak is not on the table and I will happily unfurl my traditional NZ flag once all this has been buried.  But if I was to choose a design to tell the world we are strong, mature and to be respected, then yes the come of age, powerful Red Peak.  Sadly, the 4 chosen designs seem a step back into 2nd tier obscurity.