Many staff in the College of Creative Arts are standing behind national flag contender Red Peak in the upcoming flag referendum. Preference for the design runs deeper than simply retaliating against the intense frustration the flag consideration process has created with the design community - the process has been anything but an exercise in good design. However, compared to the other four alternative designs on the table, Red Peak follows the rules of great flag design while also telling a very compelling narrative about Aotearoa New Zealand. What it offers the public in this referendum is a modern and progressive symbol that looks both to the past and the future - connecting people to place while avoiding the tired look of so much national imagery.
Designed by School of Design alumnus Aaron Dustin, Red Peak, alternatively named First to the Light, has enabled a versatile and dynamic expression of New Zealand. Based on Māori tāniko and tukutuku design, the simple geometric form offers a modular system that can be and has been used and interpreted in a variety of ways - from mountains and Pukeko to Fred Dagg and the all-seeing eye of our beloved Thingee. Red Peak has resonated deeply with people and it is fair to say that the abstract nature of the design is its greatest attribute - an attribute shared by all great national flags.