Saturday, February 6, 2010

The New Zealand Flag

Whoever heard of a flag that represents only what "we are today" (New Zealand Herald, 6 Feb 2010)? But then, whoever heard of nation that is only what it is today? We are our history - where we come from and what we have done is part of who we are. Forget it and we forget ourselves and our culture.

The Union Jack is on the New Zealand flag for reasons bound to our history and the very being of New Zealand as a nation. If you are a New Zealander, esp. of British or Maori descent, then you should know this. New Zealand's founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi, is an agreement between Maori and the British Crown. The New Zealand flag reflects Britain and the British people in the South Pacific.

Our New Zealand culture is bound to Britain by the way we do things, our history is intermeshed. The British descendents here are still a people, we still have an ethnicity, just as the Maori do and every people around the world. To forget and then destroy our ties to Britain destroys our self-concept and denies us our history. Rather than destroy this tie we should strengthen and celebrate it.

The Maori flag is a good idea - the New Zealand flag doesn't well represent them (if any change were made to the New Zealand one it should have been the inclusion of a Maori symbol rather than the Southern Cross). But the New Zealand flag is still our flag - yes it does represent the British in the South Pacific, but that is where we came from, who we are; the fact that there are now many other peoples here doesn't mean we should change our flag, certainly not while our nation is founded on the Treaty of Waitangi.

Not until the Treaty is superceded by another agreement should the flag be changed, maybe that agreement will cede sole soveriegnty to Maori, who knows; however, we would be wrong as British people in the South Pacific to sunder through thoughtlessness and neglect our ties to Britain and the British culture our people brought here and that forms the basis of us our culture. Our roots in Britain go back far further than our roots in New Zealand. For our wellbeing and our realisation of who we are we should strengthen these ties not deny them.



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