24 Learning: NZ Flag - Great activity to get children thinking about design

24 Learning

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NZ Flag - Great activity to get children thinking about design

Campbell Live this evening has had a story focusing on the NZ flag debate. 88% of respondents to their survey do not want a change to the flag. This is up from 84% answering the same question in February. I am sure the margin of error on this sort of survey will be big but those numbers are not insignificant.

I'm not sure where I sit on this issue. Part of me agrees with Ian Mune...

Ian Mune, Director, Writer, Actor

"Why a flag? To run up the mast, to drape over a coffin, to unfurl in the breeze, to gather around, to say "This is us." So who are we? According to our current flag, a bunch of poms in the South Pacific. We stand by Australia like two kids going to school, our flags almost identical, and both looking backwards, still acknowledging our parents. We're grown-ups now. Let's buy our own clothes. And if we want the stars, we better get in quick or the Aussies will pinch it." 


... and part of me agrees with the 88% support shown by John Campbell's survey respondents. I get both sides of this debate. The desire for change based around identity and the desire to hold on to and cherish the memories of historical moments celebrated under our current flag. The issue is way deeper than a  weighing up of the pros and cons because there is so much emotion involved. I wonder if the next debate will be about changing the national anthem?

I would love to hear your opinion. Do you favour a change? Why? Why not? What do your children think?

I was thinking about this being a genuine learning opportunity for our children to be involved in.
So... if anyone is interested here are a few resources that might be useful as inspiration.

The TED talk below is a really interesting summary about what makes for a good flag design and some of the common mistakes designers make. The talk is mostly about city flags but it has some good flag design rules that apply to country, city or actually any flag design. It is also just a really different presentation style and worth watching for that reason.

NZFlag.com has a whole lot of great resources for teachers. This is a must visit site if you want to run a "design a flag" activity with your class.


This next one is the government site asking for feedback. This is where children genuinely can have a say.

What do you stand for?

The NZ History page has some great background on the flag debate.


The ones below are various other sites that have some useful resources to support your discussions.

Quirky alternatives


Google Image Search NZ Flag

If you do decide to do this as an activity send me links to any cool designs your classes come up with and I will post the link for others to share.


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