The New Zealand Prime Minister has a dream of changing the New Zealand flag, no one is sure why, perhaps it’s a forerunner to changing New Zealand into a republic from its present structure, being a constitutional monarchy with The Queen as Sovereign.
The Queen is today shared equally with fifteen other countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, all being independent and the monarchy of each legally distinct. Her direct participation in any of these areas of governance is limited, and in fact most of the royal constitutional and ceremonial duties in New Zealand are carried out by the Queen’s viceroy, the Governor-General.
The current flag New Zealand Flag is the symbol of the realm,
government and people of New Zealand. Its royal blue background
represents the blue sea and clear sky surrounding us. The stars of the Southern Cross emphasise this country’s location in the South Pacific Ocean. The Union Jack in the first quarter recognises New Zealand’s historical origins as a British colony and dominion.
The New Zealand Flag hasn’t always been our official flag, it was
adopted in 1902. For six decades before that, the Union Jack fluttered
from New Zealand’s flagpoles. But even that wasn’t our first flag. Between 1834 and 1840, the Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand was recognised as the first ‘national’ flag of New Zealand.
In 1834 the new Lieutenant-Governor, William Hobson, forcibly
removed the United Tribes flag and replaced it with the Union Jack. Some Maori, including Hone Heke, believed that Maori should have the right to fly the United Tribes flag alongside the Union Jack, in recognition of their equal status with the government. Heke’s repeated felling of the flagstaff at Kororareka between 1844 and 1846 was a vivid rejection of the Union Jack, which was viewed as a symbol of British power over Maori.
Yes, the New Zealand flag can be confused with the Australian flag, but the similarity is because of what it represents. Its royal blue background representing the blue seas surrounding New Zealand. The stars of the Southern Cross are prominent in the South Pacific.
The Orange Institution of New Zealand opposes any change to the current flag. The Orange Institution exists to protect the tenets of the Reformed Faith and to maintain New Zealand’s connection with the crown. Membership of a lodge can give a sense of `belonging’–an important factor in a cold, technological age when many working-class people feel increasingly alienated and rejected.
We support the same sense of ‘belonging’ to the crown, the commonwealth and our history. An important factor in a cold, technological age when many working-class people feel increasingly alienated and rejected by the whims of our politicians.
That ‘belonging’ is also strong towards our flag. As New Zealand has come of age on the international arena our flag has been present wherever New Zealanders were present. Like the Returned Services Association (RSA), the Orange Institution sees no need to break this tradition by introducing a new flag.
In the coming months this campaign will pick up as the Prime Minister bulldozes everyone through this process. In early May of this year the “public engagement process” starts, this is a one-sided effort driven by the Prime Minister with little regard for popular opinion. At this point in time there is not an overwhelming support for his actions.
We will keep you posted on how this dream of the Prime Minister pans out.
See the second post in this series here
See the third post in this series here