The Union Jack reimagined within Maori design space represents the creative collaboration of both cultures at the foundation of New Zealand’s national character.
Red is our foundation, history, and authority. It is the Land.
Blue is the future we envision and create for ourselves. It is the Ocean.
White is the process of creation. It is our connection with the Earth, its peoples, and each other.
The specific forms are expressly left open to reinterpretation for different purposes in different eras, and no suggestion is preferentially offered in advance as standard.
The purpose of this design is to get away from the convention of colonial native art acting as mere decoration, distorted and displaced to adorn the rigid Imperial Cross.
Here, the most basic and familiar elements of kowhaiwhai take a structural role, within which the Union Jack is reconstructed as an entirely unique and distinctive symbol.
At the same time however, the Union Jack remains at the heart of this design as the visual emblem that holds it together.
The design as a whole is intended to inspire exploration, imagination, and enjoyment.
The style evokes kowhaiwhai throughout Maori history, while remaining consonant with the art form into the future.
Its forms are deliberately conventional in the sense that all Kiwis implicitly recognise them as normal and traditional folk art, rather than a forced stylistic novelty.
Blue-teal provides the desired balance, luminous and subdued, as well as distinctive. It underlines our South Pacific location, hints at environmental awareness, and in symbolising the future suggests flexibility rather than fixed ideology. It also conveniently resembles the Scottish Saltire blue.
“Tika” is a Maori word for correct or proper, and related meanings.