The government of New Zealand held a vote for its citizens to choose the nation’s flag. The voting took place in 2 stages. Last year, the people voted on 5 new design alternatives. The flag idea that won was the Silver Fern flag – Black, White, and Blue. In March this year, New Zealanders voted whether to keep the current flag or to change to the Silver Fern flag. The country’s current flag won.
New Zealand’s current flag was adopted in 1902. The flag has the Union Jack in the upper left corner. The Union Jack is the national flag of the United Kingdom. New Zealand was a colony in the British Empire from 1840 to 1907. It then became “a country of the British Empire”. New Zealand gained its independence in many small steps. The Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, is still the head of state of New Zealand, while the head of government is the prime minister. The current prime minister is John Key (image).
One of the arguments supporting the flag change was that New Zealand should not have another country’s flag incorporated into its own flag. Another was that the Australian flag (image) is very similar to New Zealand’s and many folks in other nations confuse the two flags. One of the arguments supporting the current flag is that the cost of changing to a new flag is high. Another was that many citizens are loyal to the history of their nation and the flag represents that.
Tuvalu and Fiji are also two nations with the Union Jack incorporated in their national flags.
Did you know?
Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand.