'I won't be proud to call myself a kiwi if they change the flag.'

I loved everything about growing up in New Zealand.

I loved the beautiful, luscious landscape, the friendly locals, the fact that no-one would turn a blind eye if you went to the supermarket in pajamas and jandals.

It was the best place for spending childhood and I will forever be thankful for being able to call it home.

Despite all of this, I won’t be proud to call myself a kiwi if New Zealand changes the flag.

nz flag old
The current New Zealand flag.

Two years and $26 million NZD later, it all culminates into the preliminary result, to be released tonight at 6pm. This result will decide whether or not New Zealand will cast aside the flag that has represented our country for 114 years, to be replaced with the alternative.

I have no problem with change; change is good. Change is what we need to evolve and grow as a nation. When the first referendum on the flags came out, I voted on one I thought would represent our tiny country well, yet it was another the majority voted would represent us better.

And, honestly, it’s just plain ugly.

nz flag new
The alternative New Zealand flag.

When I first saw this design, I thought it had been created by a child on Microsoft Paint.

This is not the flag I want representing my homeland. This is not the flag I want representing our athletes at the Olympic games in Rio this year. This is not a flag I feel proud to wear.

I am not the only one. According to the New Zealand Herald, around 1.9 million people, over 61 per cent of the eligible voters in NZ, have had their say on which flag we should have. How can we make a momentous decision like this without having the consent of the entire country.

US comedian John Oliver has spoken extensively about New Zealand’s proposed flag change. Watch him discuss it in the video below. Post continues after video…

Video by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Kiwi Prime Minister, John Key, said, “It’s fundamentally about taking the Union Jack off and putting the silver fern on.

“To me, that’s a symbol that we’re known by. That’s a symbol that we put on our Commonwealth war graves. That’s a symbol that’s internationally recognisable.”

I get it, I do. And I agree. I am the first to brandish myself with a silver fern on Australia Day to show my NZ pride. That, along with Lord of the Rings and Flight of the Concords, are how foreigners identify New Zealand.

I am ready for a change. I am ready for our tight-knit nation to separate ourselves from the Union Jack and claim our independence.

Believe me, I understand the will, the need to change the flag. I understand what it represents.

But this is not the one.

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