Flag Up Your Vote

With media all over the world speculating on the change to the New Zealand flag in 2016 and the big unveiling of the final five designs, it’s doubtful you’ve missed the debates and opinions that are flying about, so we thought it would be Interesting to dig a bit deeper into the history of the flag and share the flag we’re voting for (we bet you can’t guess!)

If you had travelled to New Zealand before 1902, it would have been the Union Jack that you’d have seen fluttering from the flagpoles across the country, though now we all recognise the distinctive New Zealand national flag with the Union Jack in up in the corner and the four stars that represent the constellation of the Southern Cross as it is seen from New Zealand.

United Tribes Flag. Image courtesy of NZ History

United Tribes Flag. Image courtesy of NZ History

The history of the New Zealand Flag goes back further than that though with the original national flag voted in from a choice of three in 1834 by the United Tribes of New Zealand. The Flag became known as the ‘Flag of the United Tribe of New Zealand’, and to Maoris symbolised New Zealand being recognised by the British as an Independent Nation.(If you visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds today you’ll see the flag, still flying high from a flagpole in the grounds of the Treaty House).

It wasn’t long after this, in 1840, that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and New Zealand became known as a British Colony, hence the introduction of the Union Jack. This wasn’t an entirely popular decision with Maori’s, many of whom felt that the Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand should have been flown alongside the Union Jack, but they were overruled and the Union Jack enjoyed status as the national flag for some 60 plus years until the passing of the New Zealand Ensign Act instituted the existing flag.

the five alternative designs. Image courtesy of New Zealand Government

the five alternative designs. Image courtesy of New Zealand Government

2016 will see New Zealanders voting, for the very first time, on a referendum on their flag and there are five different designs for them to choose from. If you’re travelling to Wellington before 20th November, head down to Civic Square and you’ll be able to see the designs on display flying above the Town Hall.

The five alternative designs were whittled down from over 10,000 and have been chosen after some deliberation, with the brief needing fit quite a criteria. Chair of the Flag Consideration Panel, Professor John Burrows, explained “We believe a potential new flag should unmistakably be from New Zealand and celebrate us as a progressive, inclusive nation that is connected to its environment, and has a sense of its past and a vision for its future” that’s a lot to get across in a simple design!!
The choices include flags featuring a Koru, an integral symbol in Maori carving, art and design that symbolises peace, growth, new life and strength, three variations on the Silver Fern design and the Red Peak, a late addition to the referendum.

Below you can watch a video of John Key, New Zealands Prime Minister making his case for why he thinks its time for a change

The first referendum is set to run from November 20 to December 11, where voters will be asked to rank the five options, followed by the most popular flag from the first referendum pitched against the current flag in a second vote in March next year.
What do you think? Which Flag do you think should be selected? Do comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
And of course, we’re rooting for one of the three designs that encompasses our logo here at Silver Fern Holidays, The Silver Fern (as if you hadn’t already guessed!)

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Magnificent Doubtful Sound

A cruise out on the magnificent Doubtful Sound is an incredible experience and one that you won’t want to miss on a trip to new Zealand

We’re not sure quite how we could describe it adequately– even the first explorers got it wrong and incorrectly named it a Sound – which is a river-fed waterway, when in fact it is a Fiord, since it is a glacier-fed expanse of water. Anyway, who cares about the names – the fact is a trip out on one of the worlds most beautiful stretches of water is truly unforgettable.

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The Milford Track: The Finest Walk in the World

Were we mad enough to undertake the last walk on the Milford Track for the season with snow forecast? Yes we were! – along with another 35 brave souls who we met up with on the first day for the trip over Lake Te Anau to Glade House, the first lodge on the track. It’s only a 30 min walk to the lodge, if that, so plenty of time for us to get settled in, have a shower, test the flush toilets and have coffee and cookies before our introductory nature walk with Grace, one of four guides who accompany each group on their walk. The guides are not only superbly trained in mountain safety and interpretation, they’re also very sociable and empathetic with everyone on the walk – so a big thanks to Masako, Grace, Richard, and Helen.

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Abel Tasman Guided Walk

Along with six other Brits we met up at Wilson’s Abel Tasman Guided Walk Office in Motueka in preparation for our three day guided walk along the coastal path.

Darryl Wilson kindly stopped by for a chat – he’s been operating the guided walk with other family members for around thirty years now and a very impressive operation it is. Prior to departure everyone is given a Wilson’s holdall to put their gear in for the trip and this gets transported by boat to the two lodges you will stay in during the walk, at Torrent Bay and the Meadowbank Homestead – so all you carry is a daypack with lunch in and swimming togs.

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Singapore Stopover

We flew out from Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 – all shiny and whizzy-dizzy with right-on restaurants, computers everywhere and the usual branded shops, but no flight announcements, so of course only just made the plane!

Excellent service on Singapore Airlines – along with Air New Zealand, I think it’s one of the best for flights to New Zealand. The on-board media system is amazing, you’re really spoilt for choice as to what to watch – I plumped for the boxset of The Wire series and a documentary on the 1960s, which must have whiled away at least 4 hours!

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Waiheke Island

A great day trip out of Auckland is a cruise across to Waiheke Island, followed by a bus tour on the Waiheke Explorer, which takes in all the main sights during a two hour tour, leaving you to explore further in the afternoon – perhaps connect with a wine trip (of which there are many), or just relax on one of the beautiful beaches.

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Packing for New Zealand

Something of a nightmare to think of packing to cover temperatures in three countries – since we’ll be in the humidity of Singapore, the relatively pleasant temperatures on New Zealand’s North Island, but possibly cold nights on the South, particularly on the Milford Track, so I’m definitely into a multi-layered approach.

I also find New Zealand must be one of the best places in the world to get your washing done “en route”, pretty well every hotel or Bed & Breakfast we stay at has laundry facilities, and on some occasions, I’ve found our hosts have even done the washing while we’re out enjoying ourselves!

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New Zealand Here We Come!

Three days to go before we head off for New Zealand. Can’t remember how many separate trips this is to God’s Own – but it never ceases to amaze me how it’s always a mad panic to clear up the paperwork, sort out the technology and get packed.

Barbara and daughter Sarah (12) are with me for the first part of the trip, via Singapore and then walks on Abel Tasman Coastal Path and the Milford Track.

In between the track walks, we’ll catch up with friends at our favourite Bed and Breakfasts, and check out some of the latest New Zealand experiences – looking forward to a trip with Wanaka River Journeys and enjoying an overnight on Doubtful Sound.

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New Two Day Hike for the Hollyford Track

Following its busiest season to date, Hollyford Track is launching a new 2 day hiking product for 2014-15.

The new ‘Ocean to Alps’ guided walk is a 25 km (15.5 mile) trek though some of the most spectacular scenery that New Zealand’s rugged Fiordland region has to offer.

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Work Starts on Wellington Airport Terminal Extension

Work has now commenced on a NZ$58m, 6000 square metre extension of Wellington Airport’s main terminal building and apron.

In 1999, when Wellington’s main terminal building was opened, around 9,500 passengers passed through the airport each day. Today, on average, the airport processes over 15,000 passengers per day, and on busy days up to 20,000.

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