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Campaign brings more high profile support

Wed, 2 Mar 2005 campaign brings more high profile support Campaign brings more high profile support The campaign to change New Zealand's flag has gained the support of five more high profile New Zealanders. The latest endorsers are Past President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Ken Douglas, Architect Sir Miles Warren, Nesian Mystic lead vocalist Awa Reeder, former All Black Captain Stu Wilson and publisher Nicky Wagner. With the latest additions, the number of prominent New Zealanders calling for a change in the flag numbers nearly ninety.

In addition Peter Haythornthwaite, one of New Zealand's pre-eminent designers and the 2003 recipient of The John Britten Award for outstanding achievement in design, has added two new flag designs to the many already highlighted on the campaign website

In his endorsement Ken Douglas, ONZ, states "The values, initiatives and contributions offered by our country have been shaped and formed directly from the lessons of our own unique past, that has brought us to Nationhood. Our flag, as an emblem of our unity, determination and dignity needs to be a beacon of the aspirations that was the fuel and motivation that has brought us to a place in the new world order."

Christchurch based Sir Miles Warren, ONZ is one of New Zealand's greatest architects. Sir Miles advises "I think the design brief for the new flag should include at least the following:

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1. be a symbol or a recognisable form;

2. not simply be bands of colour as are so many European flags;

3. the symbol or form should relate to all New Zealanders and not be exclusively Pakeha or Maori (or indeed Asian); and

4. not be red, white and blue - British, French etc. The maple leaf of the Canadian flag is an excellent example."

Nesian Mystic vocalist Te Awanui Reeder notes "I have grown up seeing the New Zealand flag but I never really connected with it and still don't." Former All Black Captain Stu Wilson agrees, saying the identity of the existing flag is "confusing", reckoning that "It's time to change so every New Zealander and the rest of the world instantly recognises our flag." Publisher Nicky Wagner also agrees, "A flag that is exciting and different, that reflects our originality, our innovation and all that is uniquely New Zealand will stand out, and when flown, will be an inspiring and positive symbol to all New Zealanders."

Over eighty prominent Kiwis across a range of disciplines including local government, sports, the arts, education, religion and business are pushing for a referendum on a new national flag. The Trust has sought the support of such a broad range of New Zealand leaders to show, by their support and widely differing backgrounds, that the campaign has engagement with all sectors of New Zealand society.

Their names, photographs and endorsements appear on the website and include Olympic gold medallist, Barbara Kendall; world champion squash player Dame Susan Devoy; musician Neil Finn; businessman Stephen Tindall, and Richard Taylor of Weta.The Trust, established in February 2004, is currently gathering a targeted 300,000 signatures with the aim of holding a referendum asking New Zealanders to have their say on whether New Zealand should change its flag.

Background Trust has been established to inspire and stimulate debate about whether New Zealand should change its flag.The Trust believes in three guiding principles:

1. The debate must be apolitical.

2. Change can only happen if New Zealanders agree to change, ie by a referendum.

3. The campaign must respect the current flag.

Approximately 90 high profile New Zealanders representing a broad cross section of New Zealand society have currently endorsed the debate to change the flag, with more joining each week.

Richard Taylor, Weta Workshop: "New Zealand, Aotearoa, the land of inspiration, innovation and original thought. Our culture is special, our people unique. From our pacificana home we can proudly stamp our cultural reference and wave our uniquely New Zealand flag above the world stage. I endorse the concept of celebrating our land, our people with a national flag that respects and appreciates the wonderful country that we have become."

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