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New Zealand’s top Olympian backs new flag for Rio Olympics

New Zealand’s top Olympian backs new flag for Rio Olympics

New Zealand’s most successful Olympian wants our athletes competing under a new flag at the Rio Games in August. Canoeist and four-time gold medallist Ian Ferguson MBE wants our Olympic team to enter the Maracana Olympic Stadium in Brazil proudly bearing the new fern and stars flag.

“I’ve spent most of my life competing against Australia and every time you wave our current flag, people think you’re Australian,” says Ferguson.

“I want to be a Kiwi, not an Australian and I certainly don’t want to be British,” he says.

Ferguson joins a parade of top national sportspeople, celebrities and high-profile New Zealanders calling for achange of flag, including: rugby legends Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, top netballers Maria Tutaia and Anna Stanley, and rally car driver Hayden Paddon.

Ferguson says that he has already competed at an Olympics under the Silver Fern when New Zealand didn’t officially participate in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Four New Zealand athletes competed as independents under the banner of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (NZCGOC).

“We couldn’t fly the New Zealand flag because the country wasn’t officially competing but we proudly flew the Silver Fern flag, that was fantastic,” say Ferguson.

“It means we won’t be able to get into mischief anymore by being confused as Aussies,” says Ferguson light-heartedly.

“I just want to be a Kiwi and the Silver Fern should represent our nation,” he says.

2016 New Zealander of the Year and 148-test cap All Black Richie McCaw, one of the country's greatest ever sportsmen, has said: "The silver fern has always been the special symbol on the All Black jersey that represents who we are as Kiwis, so the new flag with a silver fern as a part of it would be a great option I believe."

Former Silver Ferns netball captain Anna Stanley agrees: "We want to have our own brand, our own sense of identity, for me the iconic symbol is the silver fern."

Stellar netball shooter Tutaia concurs: "It's embarrassing not knowing which flag is which. C'mon New Zealand let's make our flag our own."

The highest points scorer in test match rugby, with 112 test caps, Dan Carter has said: "What represents the current New Zealander today, is the fern.”

Star rally driver Paddon has said: "A new flag would give our country a clear identity worldwide which everyone would reap rewards from for generations to come."

ENDS

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