The day after we arrived in Waiheke Island was the Onetangi Beach Races day.
Races seemed to be anything from horses to wheelbarrows (real wheelbarrows with kids in them!), from Segway to ‘Sealegs’ which are boats with wheels rather than ‘legs’ but enable owners to park or go with ease according to the ads!
We joined the crowd – I think most of the island had gathered here – and watched the fun on the long sandy beach at high tide.
It seems to have been discussed on and off for a number of years, but John Key put the debate back on the agenda in 2014 by announcing his intention to hold a referendum on the subject should his National party be re-elected.
The current flag, it is argued, is too similar to the Australian flag and a new flag is needed which better represents the independence and culture of ‘brand’ New Zealand.
It’s very controversial of course; many new Zealanders are still emotionally attached to the present flag and complain that the cost of the exercise – about $26 million NZ dollars – could be better spent elsewhere.
The first referendum in 2015 chose a preferred alternative flag ( a black, white, and blue Silver fern flag by Kyle Lockwood ) and a second referendum in March 2016 will ask New Zealanders to choose between the current flag and the preferred alternative.
Is it just a flight of fancy of John Key? Or is New Zealand rebranding itself as a new dynamic nation? What do you think?