- a common and wholly apolitical head of state: an elderly lady called Mrs E. Windsor, who lives near Slough at 1 Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ
- most people speaking some form of English . . . even the Maoris - it's like Irish here
- and a lot of shared culture history - Gallipoli, Tim Minchin [yes I know he's from Oz]
- a fondness for highly salted "Anchor" butter
cost us in Ireland to get post-codes, so the new design had better speak volumes . . . and to all Kiwis, even the flying variety. If the 40 designs look like they are drawn from a limited fund of themes, it's because they have eliminated all the bat-shit crazy ideas. Which suggests that the come-one-come-all original brief was a total waste of money and time, except as a raree show that has given folks a bit of harmless fun.
The curly thang is not, as I thought at first, a tribute to the surfers of the Southern hemisphere but a koru, the unfurling head of the native silver fern Cyathea dealbata which has a long history in the iconography of the Maori people; symbolising new life, growth and strength. If New Englanders are reminded of fiddleheads - the edible young heads of their native ferns, they shouldn't take the comparison too far: C. dealbata is a tree-fern and can grow as tall as a house. The mature fern frond also features in a number of the designs, as does the olde Southern Cross, and even in one case a curlicued all-black pastiche of the Union Flag in the canton. Other distinctively Maori cultural elements that someone thought to acknowledge are rananga, tukutuku, taaniko.
postage stamps, with a penchant for the biomorphic. He hated rectangles because they reminded him of squared off regiments of storm-troopers and designed a public toilet in NZ built from old bottles and recycled bricks. His flag is already out there, he's dead, as an adopted Kiwi from Foreign he/it represents inclusiveness, it's gorra Koru . . . the people of Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, could go further and fare worse. It's probably too late to claw back the NZ$26m and give everyone $5 to buy a couple of cold beers.