The New Zealand Flag Consideration Project - Resource for New Zealand schools

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The New Zealand Flag Consideration Project - Resource for New Zealand schools
The New Zealand Flag
Consideration Project

                  Resource for
                  New Zealand schools
The New Zealand Flag Consideration Project - Resource for New Zealand schools
The New Zealand flag – your chance to decide
The current flag was legally adopted in 1902. At times New Zealanders have talked about change.
Designs have been put forward but there has never been an official public discussion about
the future of our flag. Now New Zealanders have the chance to decide in the upcoming flag
referendums -whether to keep the existing flag or choose a new design.
This resource is designed to help teachers, leaders, students, and whānau as they engage with
the flag consideration process in their school community. We encourage school communities
to explore what they stand for as individuals, groups, and ultimately as New Zealanders. This
information is important to guide the consideration of alternative flag designs.
Within this resource you will find links to The New Zealand Curriculum, resources to help
explore personal and national identity, and ideas to guide the replication of the referendum
process within your school. This resource caters for students from years 1–10 and can be adapted
to suit the learners in your classroom.
The New Zealand Flag Consideration Project - Resource for New Zealand schools
Flag consideration process timeline

                            Week ending
                            May 8

          Schools appoint
          student panels

                            June 5
          and designs

                            June 12
          Panel selects
          four designs

                            June 19
          Referendum 1

                            June 26
           Referendum 2

                            July 16
Links to The New Zealand Curriculum
 This resource replicates the real decision-making process taking place around the flag, creating
 a strong context for students to explore their sense of national identity and citizenship.

While the New Zealand flag has changed before, this is the first time in New Zealand history that
the public have had a say in the design of a flag.
The process of considering the future of the New Zealand is a national discussion that students
will be aware of through the media. It is connected to their lives and communities, making it real,
authentic, and relevant.
This resource links to a variety of learning areas, including social studies, technology, the arts,
English, te reo Māori, and mathematics and statistics. This is an opportunity to explore the
values of the curriculum, especially community and participation, and innovation, inquiry, and
curiosity; the principles of future focus, Treaty of Waitangi, and cultural diversity; and to observe
the students’ key competencies when participating and contributing and using language,
symbols, and texts.

Conceptual understandings
New Zealand’s flag is an international symbol of national identity. It represents the people of a
nation and is used at commemorations, celebrations, and times of mourning. In participating in
a complex decision-making process, students are exploring how people in Aotearoa New Zealand
make choices and take action that makes a significant contribution to New Zealand society.



               Citizenship                                               Culture
Suggested pedagogy

        Use the news
        Current events can help students make connections to their classroom learning.
        Scan the media for topics that relate to the ongoing discussion around the flag
        change. By relating to issues or events in the past and seeing that talk continue
        today, students can develop the understanding that history is continuous and
        contemporary – and get a sense of themselves as active citizens.

        Use experts
        Every community has experts who can inspire students’ thinking, provide
        information, and add emotional impact to historical events. You can choose to
        invite experts to the classroom or have the class visit them at an historical site so
        that students are able to relate events to where they took place. Remember that
        an expert can be a student, whānau, or school community member too.

        Take education outside the classroom
        Visits to historical sites, marae, museums, and notable buildings make history
        come alive. Students place their learning in real-life contexts and use all their
        senses to learn about their local area. Demonstrating that changing the flag will
        impact on their community connects their learning to a national event and an
        issue that matters to all New Zealanders.

        Use images
        Images play an important role in shaping our ideas about ourselves and other
        people. Photographs introduce new topics and add to students’ knowledge
        about other places or other people’s lives. They can provide a forum where
        students share, discuss, and question their ideas. Model and discuss how to view
        photographs critically to see beyond the immediate image in a photograph to the
        possible message behind it. Encourage students to hypothesise about what might
        be happening. Place an emphasis on addressing potential viewer bias.

        Use artifacts
        Viewing and handling artifacts provides concrete support for building conceptual
        understandings. Taonga help students to identify who they are, where they have
        come from, and how they identify themselves. Objects connect to students’ lives
        and can be used to make comparisons to the lives of others. They are illustrations
        and reminders of the past and of other places. A search of local historical societies,
        museums, or marae may unearth taonga or flags your students can see and touch.
Acknowledge bias and stereotyping
                Different perspectives influence the ways materials are presented, and two
                different, even competing, perspectives may be valid. All sources need to be
                examined. Encourage students to ask questions such as: What does the source
                say? What information does it provide? What was going on when the source was
                produced? What do you know about the historical context for the source that
                helps to explain the information it provides? Who created the source and why?
                Who was it created for?

                Address misconceptions
                While the need to test prior knowledge is well documented, it is also important to
                identify any misconceptions students may have. Students’ misconceptions affect
                their learning of subsequent concepts. This means that students may be unable to
                make links to new knowledge or make links based on their misconceptions, which
                creates further confusion.

                Social inquiry
                Social inquiry uses a flexible sequence of steps to explore a unit of learning. It uses
                questioning and information gathering; the exploration and analysis of different
                people’s values and perspectives; students’ reflections and evaluations and the
                examination of the actions of others in context. Finally it asks, So what? and Now
                what? to extend learners’ thinking.

Best Evidence Synthesis in social sciences
Effective Pedagogy in Social Sciences: Tikanga ā Iwi: BES
The BES tells us that students learn best when four teaching mechanisms are in place.
These are:
  1. Connections: Make content relevant to students’ lives and ensure that learning
     experiences are inclusive and culturally aware.
  2. Alignment: “What do I want the students to learn?” Identify prior knowledge so content is
     accurate and relevant. Students are able to work at their own pace and within their
  3. Community: Establish a productive teacher-student relationship in the classroom,
     promoting dialogue and risk taking, sharing power with students, and co-constructing
     knowledge and reflecting our identity
  4. Interest: Learning experiences need to capture and hold the students’ interest. Experiences
     need to be varied, relevant and student-led. First hand experiences and the use of primary
     resources make the learning real.
Exploring our identity
            Students explore the idea of a national New Zealand identity and the ways

            it is represented.

When examining the current flag, students can inquire into the historic and social origins of the
New Zealand flag, looking at symbolism, values, and perspectives. The suggestions for getting
started and focus questions are just that – suggestions. You may choose to share them with
your students, or they may just prompt your own thinking as your class finds their own way.

New Zealand is made up of people from a range of diverse cultures and identities. Students can
discuss the intended purpose of a flag as an iconic representation of a nation’s identity.
They can explore questions around the meaning of identity for them as individuals, as part of a
community, and as part of a nation.

            Focus questions
      ?        •   Explore the concept of individual identity – what is it to be me? What items,
                   symbols, colours, and so on, would we use to represent ourselves. What
                   influences impact on our identity as individuals?
               •   How is the identity of your school and/or community shown on a daily basis?
                   How does this differ from individual identity?
               •   What kinds of things connect us together as New Zealanders?
               •   In what ways do we show we come from New Zealand, as individuals or as
                   formal groups?
               •   How is New Zealand’s identity represented in its flag? More information can
                   be found at

  •         Ideas for getting started
               •   Younger students could compile a “Me Box”, where they collect items that
                   say something about them as a person and that reflect their personal identity
                   and place them in a container that may also reflect something about them
                   as a person. These can be shared with the class and displayed for visitors.
                   Students could make a short video explaining how their items are reflections
                   of their identity. These videos could be played alongside their display.
               •   Explore the concept of how our national identity has been represented in
                   the past. Find images, official documents, newspapers, and other primary
                   source materials that relate to the students’ ideas about national identity.
                   Websites such as Living Heritage are a good place to share this work with a
                   wider audience.
               •   To extend your discussions about identity, go to to print off the
                   “I stand for” and “We stand for” templates.
Being a citizen

          Students examine and experience the way decisions are made in different contexts
          and how they can engage in a democratic process.

Teaching citizenship and examining themes such as democracy, diversity, and participation, is
more powerful for students when it takes place in an authentic context. A national discussion

about the New Zealand flag provides such a context. Students need to understand what
values, perspectives, judgments, and decisions surround the potential change to the flag. More
specifically though, to engage in this process they have to understand why it is important that
they get to have a say; what a referendum is; and how a democratic government works to make

The classroom is the ideal place for students to engage with ideas of democracy. It brings
together a diverse group of people in a physical space for long periods of time and requires
them to share decision making, work together for a commonly agreed goal, and co-construct
expectations in a shared environment. Create situations where students feel they can safely
have strong opinions about something. Encourage them to justify their opinions and articulate
how it feels to have the right to say what you think.

            Focus questions
   ?           •   How are decisions made at home, at school, in the community, and on
                   a marae? Who makes the decisions? How are those decisions enforced
                   once they’re made? Who is consulted?
               •   In what contexts do students get to make decisions or changes in their
                   world? Which contexts do they feel they can speak up about and which
                   ones can they not?
               •   What kinds of things does the government make decisions about? How
                   do they do that? Who do they ask?
               •   What is voting and is it important? Why?

            Ideas for getting started
               •   Use scenarios and role playing to encourage students to examine
                   democratic processes in a made-up environment. Use a “hot seat”
                   technique and pretend to be a parliamentary leader who wants people
                   to enact change; make up a fictitious town or island that currently has
                   no democratic system and ask students to create the ideal.
               •   Hold a mini referendum about a classroom issue that the students want
                   to see changed.
What do flags mean?
           Students explore the geographic, historic, and cultural symbolism of flags and how
           they create and reflect meaning.

Whether it is with colour, symbols, pattern, or placement, every flag tells a story of the people
who fly it. Encourage students to look beyond the physical nature of the flag to its history and the
way it represents the identity, values, and perspectives of the people who first designed and flew
it. The purpose of this is not to promote a new design over the old, or to make the current flag
inconsequential. Rather, it is a way for students to examine the backstory of the flag, so that they
understand that anything they design will have history and meaning too.

            Focus questions
   ?           •   Explore symbolism on flags. Where did the symbols come from that
                   feature on non-official (but common) New Zealand flags? Why do we
                   have the symbols on our current flag and what do they mean?
               •   What kind of symbols could be representative of New Zealand today?
                   Whose values and perspectives need to be acknowledged or explored?
               •   How does a flag build and maintain a country’s identity? What are we
                   showing to the world?
               •   Who were important people in the history of New Zealand flag? Who
                   designed what we have today and what was their inspiration and
               •   What makes for an effective flag design? (Students could be directed to
                   the flag design guidelines on

            Ideas for getting started
               •   Students can design a personal/community/family/class flag, as a way to
                   have them think more deeply about symbols and what a flag represents.
                   Ask them to identify events where it would be appropriate to fly their flag.
               •   Explore the symbols on the current flag and examine flags of other
                   Commonwealth countries to see differences and any changes made over
                   time. Discuss why these might have occurred and how they might mirror
                   New Zealand’s experience.
               •   Explore the school and local community with younger students and
                   find landmarks that are important to them. Have the students draw or
                   photograph these places and incorporate their images into a collaged
                   class flag, with explanations in captions about why these places are
                   important. Emphasise the ways these landmarks can symbolise aspects
                   of the community by presenting the collage and it’s inspiration to a
                   school or community audience.
Flying the flag
            Students consider the different contexts and ways in which New Zealand flags are
            flown and how this has changed over time.

A flag will be flown on a flagpole over a bridge, or on a war boat, or at an ANZAC commemoration.
New Zealanders also “fly the flag” when they travel, compete in sport, or take a place on the United
Nations Security Council. Unpacking these ideas explores the purposes of a flag, how and when it
represents a country and people, and what it may mean at different times and places. This gives
students a context for their own flag and another set of criteria on which to cast their vote.

            Focus questions
   ?           •   When is New Zealand’s flag flown? Does it mean the same thing in all of those
               •   Who flies the New Zealand flag? Does it have the same meaning and purpose for
                   all of those people?
               •   Flying the New Zealand flag is encouraged on designated days of national
                   commemoration. What do you notice about some of these special days? Can you
                   see a link between them and our current flag?

            Ideas for getting started
                   •   Use photographs from digital collections such as the National Library of
                       places and events where you can see the New Zealand flag. What changes
                       can be observed over time? Students can sort and categorise photos, look for
                       bias or stereotypes, or put them in chronological order to create a timeline.
                   •   Explore the flags of your local area. Local associations, marae, churches,
                       and schools may have their own flags. Compare and contrast their purpose,
                       design, symbolism, and meaning.
                   •   Students can list different contexts where the New Zealand flag is flown.
                       These include sporting events, in combat, on memorials or public buildings,
                       at celebrations or commemorations, and at international events. Find a way
                       to share the questions that students ask and the knowledge that they gain.
                   •   Create a wonder wall, recording all the questions students have about the
                       New Zealand flag. Younger students might need some examples to prompt
                       their thinking. I wonder …
                       --   why the New Zealand flag is flown at half mast on ANZAC Day?
                       --   why can the New Zealand flag only be flown on certain days?
                       --   why the New Zealand flag is flown at half mast when a famous New Zealander dies?
                       --   what the rules are about the New Zealand flag?

               •   Flags in New Zealand schools explores the history of flying flags in schools. Two
                   historic photographs, one of a flag flying ceremony at Otahuhu school in the
                   1900s, and one of two boys unfurling a New Zealand flag at Shannon school can
                   prompt discussion and further investigation.
Whose flag is it?
             Students examine how flags can reflect the values and perspectives of a group
             of people and how the same flag can mean different things to different people.

Some countries have had the same flag for hundreds of years. Others, like Rwanda or South
Africa, have changed their flags as past conflicts have been resolved. Flags have an historical
context and are considered representative. If students are going to think carefully about
designing a flag that represents us as a nation, they need to think about the values and
perspectives that that flag embodies. This kind of thinking will not only affect their design
choices but may also affect their voting choices.

             Focus questions

   ?            •   How is the current flag treated? Are there rules and regulations around it?
                •   What values do flags embody?
                •   Whose perspectives and values do our current flag represent? What episodes
                    in New Zealand history do they reflect?
                •   Whose perspectives and values would a new flag represent?
                •   What does the current flag represent to people now?
                    Has this changed over time?

             Ideas for getting started
                •   Students could start a conversation about the values of the New Zealand flag
                    with school whānau, local hapū and iwi, local government, or the Returned
                    Services Association. Explore why these groups may differ in their opinions.
                •   Debate the issues. Debates about the current flag have been going for
                    decades. Students can run their own debates at school, or write persuasively
                    on school blogs or flag forums. Motivation may be found by looking at the
                    process of the flag debate that took place in Canada.
                •   New Zealand has six other official flags. Students can find out who each flag
                    belongs to and when it is flown. Students may have personal stories about
                    seeing these flags being flown.
                •   Students can find out about the different flags New Zealand has had over
                    time. Discuss the flags, their origins, and uses. Older students can explore
                    what values and perspectives prompted change.
                •   Students could refer to the video available at
Māori Flags

                 Students look at flags through a Māori lens, noting historical influences in design, as
                 well as the reflection of distinctly Māori values and perspectives.

Flags were not part of traditional Māori culture. In the early 19th century Māori were recorded as
using garments, particularly cloaks belonging to chiefs, as flags. These were interpreted by
onlookers as being the first Māori flags. The United Tribes’ flag (1834) can be seen as the first
official Māori flag, but it was not designed by Māori. Māori-designed flags emerged in the
lead-up to the New Zealand wars of the mid-19th century, where the flying of flags portrayed not
only mana, but often indicated allegiance or non-allegiance to the Crown.

 Standard of Dame Te Atairangikaahu sourced from: Dame Ata-
 rangikaahu, Potatau te Wherowhero -
 nz_maoh.html modern Kingitanga flag CC BY-SA 3.0

                                                                  Kīngitanga (King movement) flags 19th CenturyMuseum
                                                                  of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Reference: 1992-
                                                                  0035-1631/4A. Watercolour by W. F. Gordon

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa                           McCauley, Debbie (5 August 2011). Identity and the Battle of
Reference: F.7056/41 - W. F. Gordon, Te Ua flag                   Gate Pa (Pukehinahina), 29 April 1864 (Tauranga Memories:
                                                                  Battle of Gate Pa, 1864 kete).
                                                                  battle_of_gate_pa_1864/topics/show/1529. CC BY-SA 3.0

The national Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag flag - accessed     Mair, Gilbert, 1843-1923. [Mair, Gilbert] 1843-1923 :Te Kooti’s flag,
from:                                  Te Wepu [1921?]. Ref: A-173-031. Alexander Turnbull Library,
identity-heritage/flags/national-m%C4%81ori-flag                  Wellington, New Zealand.
?     •
    Focus questions
          Why did Māori start to design flags of their own?
          What do these flags tell us about why flags are important?
          What values and perspectives do these flags represent?

    Ideas for getting started
      •   Each of these flags comes from a different Māori group. By finding out about
          each flag, students can also find out a little about each group. Who were
          they? What did they do? How did the symbols and colours represent the
      •   There are common colours, symbols, and shapes in these flags. Use these
          examples to discuss symbolism and the pictorial representation of identity.
      •   Students can explore the values of tino rangatiratanga, manaakitanga, and
          whanaungatanga, and how they relate to the Maōri flags from the past and
          the design of a new national flag.
      •   Students can talk to local iwi and hapū about the current flag and discuss and
          record their perspectives.
Choosing a flag

             Students are given the opportunity to put their learning into action when
             designing new flags and voting in a referendum.

In this part of the learning, students will put into practice what they have explored. By running a
design, selection, and voting process they will echo the democratic process that is about to occur
nationwide. This gives them an authentic learning experience connected to local and national
events. Students of any age can run this process with varied levels of support. It is important
that the example given of the democratic process is as realistic as possible, to give students as
authentic an experience as possible.

Design It
Calling for and shortlisting alternative flag designs
Designing a new national flag is the culmination of the thinking and learning students have done
so far. Each flag will be an individual representation of New Zealand, showing aspects of identity,
values, and perspective that each student sees as being part of the nation.

The design of the flags will naturally take into account basic design skills. Students will consider
different symbols and colours to represent New Zealand’s identity. Shape, size, and functionality
are important, and thoughtful design will show a flag that is relevant today and will still be
relevant in 100 years time. They will need to give consideration to the bicultural foundations
of New Zealand society, acknowledging tangata whenua and the Treaty of Waitangi. Students
should be directed to the Flag Design Guidelines on

Run it
Choosing a student panel
The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag consideration panel
to engage with the public about a possible new flag.

A student panel will be necessary to shortlist the designs in your school. The panel will have two
responsibilities. The first is to establish the success criteria before the design process begins,
to give the students guidance with their designs. These criteria could also be used for judging
and selection. The other is to select the four designs that will be put to a vote in the school

The panel will be involved in setting up discussion about why there is a referendum, running a
flag design competition, running referendums to choose a preferred flag, and a final flag for the
Choose it
Choosing a flag for New Zealand
Referendums are being held nationwide to choose the flag for New Zealand’s future.
The student panel will run two referendums:
•   The first referendum will ask students to pick the best flag design from the four selected by
    the student panel. For the first referendum, the flag which has the most votes will be the
    chosen alternative design. Please note that the first referendum process is different to the
    National process (which is a preferential vote).
•   The second referendum will ask students to choose whether they want to keep the current
    New Zealand flag or whether they want to replace it with the chosen alternative design from
    their first referendum. For the second referendum, the chosen flag (the current New Zealand
    flag or the chosen alternative design) has to gain over 50% of the vote.

The way each school runs their referendums is to be decided by the school. For consistency
and clarity, both need to be run in the same manner. To create a more authentic experience
for students, the replication of aspects of national referendums, such as having a polling place,
conducting a secret ballot, and making an official announcement of the results, can all be part of
your school referendum procedures.

Share it
As well as sharing students’ designs with the school community, schools are invited to suggest their
chosen alternative design from their first referendum, along with a comment on whether the new design
or existing New Zealand flag was chosen in the second referendum, on Accompany
images with descriptions of the thinking, inquiring, designing, and voting processes undertaken in your
school. The last day for posting the results of your project is July 16, 2015.

Writing descriptions of the processes they worked through provides students with opportunities to
evaluate and reflect on their learning.
Supporting resources
                                The New Zealand flag consideration project – for schools

                                Official website

                                wickED – The world of flags, Elections
   The world of flags 
                                This site contains a variety of resources that are useful for students working on the New Zealand flag
        Elections               project. These include: Our Flag, History of the New Zealand Flag, Design a new Flag, Hot debate.

                                Ministry for Culture and Heritage

                       – Flags of New Zealand

                                Te Ara - The Encylopedia of New Zealand



                                New Zealand Voting system

Discover the vocabulary used to descibe the parts and patterns of flags, and their display


There are a range of Digistore resources relating to New Zealand’s identity. Within the collection there are some
relating specifically to the New Zealand flag. These digital resources and support notes provide additional background
information to the issues surrounding a new flag design.

New Zealand flag
This item includes a colour drawing and a scale drawing of the New Zealand flag. The drawings were created by John
Mackay who was appointed the position of Government Printer in 1896. It is likely that the drawings were created in
the early 1900s when the New Zealand flag replaced the Union Jack as the official flag of New Zealand.
Dump our flag, newspaper article, 1979
This item is a newspaper article that presents the viewpoint of Neville Morrison, a New Zealander living in Canada,
who is advocating a new national flag for New Zealand. The article was published in the Sunday News on 7 January
1979. The article features images of the New Zealand flag and the Australian flag. It also includes a photograph of
Neville Morrison with some of his suggested flag designs.
Campaign for flag change, letter, 1980
This item is a letter written on 20 January 1980 by businessman Bryan Jackson to Mr Allan Highet, Minister of Internal
Affairs. In the letter Bryan Jackson promotes a new national flag for New Zealand and urges the minister to show his
letter to other members of Parliament. The letter includes images of the current New Zealand and Australian flags, as
well as suggested flag alternatives.
Resource for
                                            New Zealand schools

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