Union Jack & the BBE

:^: NZ Flag Debate

The casual internationalism felt by many Anglophones makes it easy to overlook the substantial influence of British tradition in our politics and social attitudes. Had we become a French colony instead, Nouvelle-Zélande would be very different, and its people would not be the kiwis of today.

It is difficult to justify removing all trace of our colonial past when we still preserve and respect many of the values and institutions we inherited, finding in them reliable and fertile ground for our own cultural and political evolution.

We won’t demonstrate our independence as a mature nation by spitting the dummy and indulging in iconoclastic narcissism. We should be responsible stewards of reality as well as ideals.


  • The British Blue Ensign designates subsidiary branches of the British government. Using it for an independent nation produces some anomalous symbolism.
  • The BBE is intrinsically divided in a way that prohibits a unified, coordinated design.
  • Our defaced BBE is ill-suited to heading national ensigns of its own, and has required multiple inconsistent strategies to fulfil different roles.
  • The Union Jack is in the first canton, symbolically the command position, which does not represent our actual relationship.
  • The UJ is duplicated exactly, in its entirety, adding complexity, and locking out local influence.
  • Our UJ belongs to an earlier Britain, not the UK of today. We need to mark the distinction.

HRH Elizabeth IINote: The United Kingdom is not our head of state, and the Union Jack does not represent our head of state.


  • Do not include the Union Flag itself. Refer to it symbolically using forms that are clearly suggestive but not needlessly constrained to official UK specs.
  • Place it in context. Be very clear about what role it plays in the overall symbolism you wish to convey.
  • Avoid competing symbols. If you do not have a wholly unitary design, ensure that the parts occupy different roles.

Next: NZ Flag Proposals

Back: Fixing Crux : Orientation



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