Fixing Crux : Orientation

:^: NZ Flag Debate

Te Punga — The Anchor: Aotearoa's own constellation.

Te Punga — The Anchor:
Aotearoa’s own constellation.

New Zealand has multiple claims to The Anchor as its own special symbol, whereas The Cross is substantially more common and arbitrary. And because they are the same stars already present on the current flag, their significance is enriched with no loss of continuity.


Crux is known as Te Punga* (The Anchor) in Maori astronomy, and simply emphasizing that interpretation would bring some cultural balance to the current flag.

Its resemblance to a European style of anchor resonates with both traditions to produce a single bicultural symbol.

*Te Punga o Te Waka o Tama-rereti is the full name. Other names are Māhutonga, and Te Taki-o-Autahi.


The Water Hemisphere is centred in NZ territory.

The Water Hemisphere is centred in NZ territory.

The settlement of Aotearoa is a story of some of the greatest seafaring expeditions in both Polynesian and European history.

Our connection to the sea, as a remote island nation, continues to be a significant aspect of our national identity, as well as our image in the rest of the world.


The upright cross is visible from more than half the Earth’s surface, including for example, much of China and Mexico. Brazil includes it on their flag.

Crux travels all the way around the pole, but how much is above the horizon depends on how far South you are.

Crux travels all the way around the pole as the Earth spins, but how much of the circle is above the horizon depends on how far South you are.

New Zealand is far enough South to view Crux at every angle as is circles the pole, and is the only nation whose mainland is entirely below that line. The Anchor is a far more precise and exclusive symbol of our geographical location than The Cross.


The Southern Cross is a symbol of the Northern explorer looking South, to far away lands over the horizon. An emblem of Southern colonies as seen from the Imperial Throne.

Rather than let ourselves be defined from a foreign perspective, we should define ourselves from a position that requires others to come to us for understanding.


Whereas “cross” merely names a class of shapes, an anchor provides footing against fluctuating tides; and a choice of when to follow and when to resist.

Next: Union Jack & the BBE

Back: Fixing Crux : Symmetry



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