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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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68 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Bottom left, no question.

    I wonder what Australia would have done if the republican referendum had passed.

    Hawaii needs a new flag.

    (edited because I accidentally said bottom right.)Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    A review of the actual submissions for the new NZ flag is one of those things Google was made for.Report

  3. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    Either of the black and white options. They are as non-flag like as I could imagine, and therefore they should absolutely be a flag. I wonder what the swirly one is representative of? Waves?Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    Man, all of the prospective replacements would get a low grade score on the flag assessment tests; Objects everywhere. I suspect the current flag may end up carrying the day.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I think it does okay. Reviewing the Five Rules:

      1. Keep it Simple – Check, nope, nope, and check. For #2 and #3, though, I think it’s a balance with #5. I think what they lose here, they win by being distinct and instantly recognizable.
      2. Meaningful symbolism – Check, check, check, check
      3. Two of three colors – Check, nope, check, check. #2 goes over by one color. Still, that’s why I went with #3.
      4. No lettering or seals – Check, check, check, check
      5. Distinct – Check, check, check, check.Report

  5. Avatar aarondavid says:

    First, I await James K.’s thoughts. Second, this isn’t Hawaii, keep the Union Jack there.Report

    • Avatar gingergene says:

      But they’re not part of the UK, right? Just the commonwealth. Seems like the Union Jack makes as much sense for New Zealand as it does for Canada. Which is to say, not at all to me: it’s a flag representing the union of Scotland and England, why should it be on the flag of a country halfway around the world from either of those two “United” Kingdoms? (And those inclined to say “history” hafta explain why only part of the country’s history gets on the flag.)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Alternately, the Union Jack makes as much sense for New Zealand as it does for Australia…

        Which is to say that man, thought not all, Commonwealth nations do use the jack.Report

        • Avatar gingergene says:

          I think in most of the commonwealth countries where it’s used, it is a case of “it’s our history” with “history” being written by the winners, so to speak. New Zealand is a different animal in that respect: the Maori were far more successful than just about any other native population at holding off European advances. They basically fought them to a draw, and it’s reflected in the governance of the country.

          Of course, I’m an American, so I think one of the first thing a colony should do after shedding the shackles of conquest (or before, if you have the time and a seamstress handy) is come up with a new flag. Also a national anthem, preferably one based on a drinking song.Report

      • Avatar aarondavid says:

        Well, for me at least @gingergene I do love the Union Jack, I think it is a good flag. Just not for Hawaii. (Also, the Union Jack unites Cornwall, Wales and North Ireland also. Not to be a pedant or anything…)

        So a big part of it for me really comes down to “Why?” Which is why I really would like James K.’s opinion on it.Report

        • Avatar gingergene says:

          Eh, what have the Welsh given the UK besides their extra vowels? (That’s my current theory about where all the extra u’s came from. And Welsh is definitely missing some.)Report

          • Avatar Guy says:

            ‘w’ is a vowel in Welsh. You should believe me because my friend who likes languages told me.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Your friend is correct.

              “a, e, i, o, u, and always y, fishers! Also w.”Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

              W is a vowel in English, as in words like “how” and “row.”Report

              • Avatar gingergene says:

                So in “however” and “rowing”, w is a vowel, but in “weather” and “wing”, it’s a consonant? I’m having a hard time parsing that.Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:


                However, in words like “low” and “bow,” one can make a good case that the letter w represents a vowel. Both of these words end with one or another of the diphthongs of modern English. In each case, the second part of the diphthong is represented by w. By the way, l, m, n, and r may also sometimes represent vowels; that is, in English there are vowels that are routinely represented by these letters. They show up at the ends of the words “bottle,” “bottom,” “button,” and “butter.”


              • Avatar gingergene says:

                I don’t hear a difference between the “w” sound in “bow”, the “w” sound in “bowing” and the “w” sound in “wing”. They all sound the same to me. Which one am I saying wrong?Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                It’s not that the W is different per se, it’s that it modifies the sound of the O. O normally sounds like ‘Oh’ (or ‘Ooh’, if you have a couple), but here it sounds like ‘Ow’.Report

              • Avatar gingergene says:

                So, it’s doing double duty? A vowelsonant? Or a consowel? My understanding of linguistics is minimal; the only diphthongs I know about are in German, and they’re all part of the standard 5 all-vowels-all-the-time group, although they do include umlauts.Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                I’m not an expert by any means, but that’s my understanding of dipthongs, yes.


                “a gliding monosyllabic speech sound (as the vowel combination at the end of toy) that starts at or near the articulatory position for one vowel and moves to or toward the position of another”

                (Note though that even in the definition I posted above, they worded it as “one can make a good case that it represents a vowel”. English is slippery.)Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      There are certainty many New Zealanders who agree with you, but the reason we have the Union Jack on our flag is that at the time we were a colonial possession of the British Empire. That hasn’t been true since shortly after World War Two.Report

      • Avatar aarondavid says:

        Speak of the Devil!

        And thank you, that answers any questions I had.Report

      • Avatar gingergene says:

        While you’re at it, you guys should change your national anthem to the Haka. That shit is awesomely terrifying. (Although I do like rhyming “our free land” with “New Zealand”.)Report

        • Avatar James K says:


          In World War II, the Maori Battalion was one of the few Allied units that legitimately terrified the Afrika Korps.Report

          • Avatar gingergene says:

            As well they should have. I wouldn’t want to be on a battlefield facing down the All Blacks, much less a trained fighting unit. (And here is where I joke that the difference between rugby and warfare is that soldiers get to wear helmets.)Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      Canada ditched their union-jack based flag for one based on a distinctive leaf, and that’s proved to be the right choice. Not sure what makes NZ different.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The real way to choose a new national flag is through a giant country wide game of capture the flag. Divide the nation into four teams and assign a flag to each team. If a team can host their flag at the capital than it becomes a new flag.Report

  7. Avatar Autolukos says:

    Top left. Or just go ahead and use the All Blacks’ flag directly.Report

  8. Avatar notme says:

    Meh, all the choices look rather cartoonish.Report

  9. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    I prefer the lower left. I think it does a good job of including a distinctive NZ symbol while being a natural evolution of their previous flag.

    I’m really disappointed, though, that the short list includes two designs that are so similar. Absent IRV or similar, it screws with the vote, and it also knocks more distinctive choices out of the running. If you haven’t already, take a look at the long list of forty flags from which these four were chosen. There are several other designs that really stand out.Report