Gareth Morgan believes any new flag needs to acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi, in which partners agreed to share this land and ensure that each other’s cultures thrive. Morgan believes NZ needs to embrace this opportunity to change our flag and is offering $20,000 for a flag that best meets his brief.
Morgan has no problem setting out what he thinks the flag should represent, but lacks the necessary expertise (and possibly taste) to deliver the finished product. “I need help. I flunked art class every year” says the outspoken economist and philanthropist. “This stuff is hard. I’m no designer, which is why I think the average Kiwi is struggling to engage. I have a deadly serious view of what the flag should represent but I couldn’t possibly draw a flag that meets that purpose.”
So Morgan is putting out a nationwide call for a flag design that actively reflects the spirit of the Treaty. The designer of the “winning” flag will receive $20k and have their design displayed on a high profile billboard. The winning design will be announced prior to entries closing for the flag consideration process and the entry will be submitted into the Flag Consideration Panel.
This is not about duplicating the Government process, or devaluing the entries that have been submitted already. Morgan just wants a flag that represents what he thinks makes modern New Zealand society unique, and in particular one that includes a nod to the Treaty relationship.
“Come the referendum I get one vote like everyone else. I’m just lucky I can afford to get a designer to help me out.” Morgan says he particularly wants young designers to enter, “after all the younger generations will be using this flag more than us. It would also be a bonus for me if the prize could help a young designer pay their University fees,” says Morgan.
There has been some disquiet among the design community about the way we are approaching the flag consideration process. There is no design expert on the Flag Consideration Panel that is choosing the short list for the referendum. Morgan has enlisted the help of a team of designers Mark Pennington (head designer Formway), Catherine Griffiths (designer and typographer) and Desna Schollum (Nga Aho co-chair) to help choose the winner.
Competition entries close on Monday 13 July in time for the official Flag Consideration Project which closes on Thursday 16 July. People can enter at designmyflag.nz.