Irish Examiner’s Jonah Lomu Tribute Is Causing Huge Debate In New Zealand


There is huge debate in New Zealand at the moment regarding the country’s flag.

To most of the world the New Zealand flag is arguably rather indistinct. It’s very similar to the Australia flag and the presence of the Union Jack is not to everyone’s taste. With that in mind, New Zealanders are currently being asked to vote in a referendum to decide whether to keep their current flag (below) or switch to one of five alternatives.


The favourite alternative is currently being decided with the winner going up against the current flag in another referendum in March. As things stand, it appears that a change is unlikely. Latest polls indicate a two thirds majority are in favour of keeping the current flag but Prime Minister John Key is doing his best to try and change that. And he’s using the Irish Examiner’s front page tribute to Jonah Lomu to do so.

Key appeared on a TV show in New Zealand this week and he pointed to the Examiner’s front page as an example of the insignia that most of the world associate with the country.

Here’s the silver fern, front page, with one frond coming off like a tear, with Jonah Lomu and his years. Amazingly powerful. That’s New Zealand. Where was our flag? Nowhere.

The fern features in three of the five alternative flags (one of which is below) and Key has suggested that the Examiner’s much lauded tribute to Lomu is an example of why the flag needs to be changed.


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