Following a referendum last March, New Zealand have opened submissions this past week to the general public, allowing people to submit new flag ideas.

The current flag shows a Southern Cross constellation, and the Union Jack in one corner. Prime Minister John Key argued that the flag represented a “colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed” as one of the driving motivations behind the change. The new flag is intended to symbolise the independence of New Zealand, by removing the emotionally charged Union Jack from the flag, replacing it with something different entirely. HSPS applicants should explore how nationalism and colonialism are tied together and reconciled in newly independent countries.

The flag submissions are being welcomed from the general public, and vary hugely from the serious and symbolic to the sublime and silly. Many submitted flags feature the silver fern, popularised by national teams including the All Blacks, which to some is seen as integral to New Zealand identity as the current flag.

Mr Key emphasised that there were no moves to cut ties with the British monarchy, and that the flag change was to mark the reality of New Zealand’s current existence as an independent state rather than ignoring New Zealand’s history. History applicants should consider how formative historical narratives are to national identity, particularly when national identity is formed through conflict.

The new, winning design will be voted in by referendum in March 2016. Anyone wishing to submit a flag should visit the Flag Consideration Project to be in with a chance of influencing the outcome of New Zealand’s flag selection.

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