All-Time Top 10: National Flags

So which came first the chicken or the egg? Surely it was the egg because you can’t get those cute little fluffy baby chicks without first hatching them from eggs. Oh hang on, who lays…? Surely it was the chicken because you need a chicken to lay eggs don’t you? No you don’t, as it happens, because every Easter a rabbit does a bloody good job of covering the globe in eggs. What’s that you say? The Easter Bunny doesn’t what? I’m not listening {places fingers in ears}. It doesn’t really matter which came first because what everyone really wants to know is which flag came first – Australia’s or New Zealand’s.

So two fairly similar flags but which is the more original? Well neither as it happens if you concentrate on the canton. That’s the bit of the flag in the corner. You know the bit with the Union Jack which as we all know was invented by some British lad (we’ll call him ‘Jack’) years before. So what else are on these two great nation’s flags that set them apart? Well we have the Southern Cross and so do they (The Aussies).  But they have six stars and we only have the four. Where did those other lads come from?  Well the Aussies have the five brightest stars in the Crux Australis constellation on theirs and we only have the four brightest. You could say that our lads were drinking a lot more rum when they pulled out the sextant and missed one. Anyway they got the main ones and they didn’t get lost (yet). So how about this big seven pointer the Aussies haul about? Well the Commonwealth Star’s points represent the six federated colonies and the seventh point represents Papua and any further countries they might want to invade in the future (eg New Zealand – for it’s most excellent water supply).

So I’m getting there. You’re on the edge of the seat. Who was it? Which country adopted theirs first? Well the kiwis have been using a flag of the same likeness they carry today since 1869. However it wasn’t recognised as our National flag until 1902. I don’t know who makes the rules but I would guess at that time it was probably ‘Jack’ again. And by chance and great fortune Australia (Dubbed ‘The Lucky Country’) had theirs adopted in 1901. So there you have it. We were in such a hurry to get it up the flagpole the Aussies managed to fill in their paperwork properly and sneak in an extra star or two. Well done lads. We’ll call it a draw.

What all this is leading up to is the lack of animosity of the two country’s flag choices. In truth we have better things to debate about like sport, wine quality and simply who is the ‘awesomest’ (clearly us, cause we came up with that word bro). I would suggest the flag debate is low on the agenda because at this stage there is more apathy toward the flag than ever. Australia has mentioned a new flag in recent years and so too has New Zealand. I must admit I’m all for it. Not in a burn the old one and forget about it kind of way but in a fold it up respectfully, thank it for a job well done and put it in Te Papa as an icon of its time.

Rather than say what I think the flag should look like (and I definitely have my leanings) I am simply going to list the ten national flags I think have appeal. That’s aesthetic appeal by the way. I am making no political allegiance in any way to the following. But we would do well to take the designs into account if we decide to go the new flag route. So thanks ‘Jack’ and let the brainstorming begin.

8. Lebanon

10. Lebanon

10. Pakistan

9. Pakistan

9. South Africa

8. South Africa

7. Jamaica

7. Jamaica

6. Sweden

6. Sweden

5. Nepal

5. Nepal

4. Barbados

4. Barbados

3. Switzerland

3. Switzerland

2. Ghana

2. Ghana

1. Canada

1. Canada

 

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