Silver fern flag

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The common version of the Silver Fern flag, similar to the All Blacks logo

A silver fern flag is any flag design that incorporates a silver fern, and is usually a white silver fern on a black background. The silver fern motif is associated with New Zealand, and a silver fern flag may be used as an unofficial flag of New Zealand. The silver fern is endemic to New Zealand. The silver fern itself is a quasi-national emblem, being used for various official symbols, including the coat of arms of New Zealand and the New Zealand one dollar coin. A number of New Zealand sports teams, such as the cricket team, the Silver Ferns and the All Blacks, use similar silver fern flags as part of their official merchandise. The All Whites association football team use a white background and a black version of the fern.

1980 Moscow Summer Olympics[edit]

New Zealand officially boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics as part of the US-led boycott of the games. However, four New Zealand athletes competed under the flag of New Zealand's Olympic committee, which was a black flag with a white silver fern imposed over the Olympic Rings.[1]

National flag proposals[edit]

The first suggestion that a silver fern flag be adopted as New Zealand's official flag came in 1998 from Cultural Affairs Minister Marie Hasler of the National Party.[2] Hasler's proposal was backed by then Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.[3] Along with the New Zealand Tourism Board, Shipley backed a white silver fern on a black background as a possible alternative flag, along the lines of the Canadian Maple Leaf flag.

In 2003, New Zealand's America's Cup team, Team New Zealand, launched the "Loyal" campaign, using a silver fern flag and a song of the same name by New Zealand musician Dave Dobbyn.

Whilst the All Blacks version of the silver fern flag was once favoured by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, opponents of the design believe it gives undue emphasis to the country's sport or resembles a pirate flag or the Islamic Black Standard as used by ISIL.[4]

2005 referendum proposal[edit]

In January 2005 the NZ Trust, using a stylised silver fern flag designed by Cameron Sanders, launched a petition to initiate a referendum on the flag issue, but failed to attract enough signatures.

2015–16 referendums[edit]

On 11 March 2014, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, announced a referendum on whether to change the New Zealand flag or not, to be held within three years, saying that he liked the silver fern as an option.[10] Of the 10,292 design submissions, approximately 3,113 incorporated elements of a fern,[11] 12 designs of 40 were selected for the long list,[12] and 3 flag designs to the shortlist alternatives have a silver fern.[13]

Service flags proposed by Kyle Lockwood for New Zealand[edit]

This gallery presents the service flags proposed by Kyle Lockwood for New Zealand following the Silver Fern Design.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1980 Moscow Olympics boycott NZ
  2. ^ John Moody. "Past Attempts to Change New Zealand's Flag" (PDF). The XIX International Congress of Vexillology. 
  3. ^ Blundell, Sally (12 March 2014). "A symbol solution". Noted. The Listener. Retrieved 9 September 2017. 
  4. ^ "New Zealand plans vote on changing national flag". The Washington Post. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  5. ^ John Ansell (1 August 2015). "Flag debate is 'an opportunity for New Zealand'". Fairfax's 
  6. ^ "Flag signals". North & South (New Zealand magazine). April 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Symbol solution". New Zealand Listener. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Koru Fern". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Campbell Live Flag Poll". TV3. 8 April 2005. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "New Zealand to hold referendum on national flag". 11 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "There are 3113 flags tagged with Fern". Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Young, Audrey (11 August 2015). "Forty flags, and only one with a Union Jack—so which one is best?". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Trevett, Claire (1 September 2015). "NZ flag referendum: The final four designs revealed". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "Service Flags".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]