The Wing-Friends and Other Books

In Blogger's slideshows images are greatly reduced, so lose much of their impact. And captions added to them in Picasa Albums vanish, so the images shown above are: the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, Earth, Earth with New Zealand circled, New Zealand, Auckland & the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island, some native NZ forest, a Fantail and chicks, various doves, etc.

(If you want to see the first ten images in their original size, they are in a posting made on the 24th of November 2011.)

My book The Wing-Friends is an imaginative tale of a small brave boy, a magical adventure, a magnificent Pegasus and the wonderful Kingdom of the Pegasi. It has been given very good reviews, and virtually every reader on Goodreads has so far awarded it five stars. It is available here. Some of my other writings are available as e-books, such as The Lower Deck, which is an over-the-top take on Waiheke happenings--sort of.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015


The huge number of designs submitted to the Flag Consideration Panel are a mix of facetious and excellent, with a proponderance of ones that ignore the well-established principles of good design, or do not do what a national flag should do, or both.

Good design limits the number of colours, ideally to no more than three (which is why the red, white and blue of the present design works so well), and not to have colours on top of each other that cause them to appear to be flashing (such as red on blue, which is why the present design has white between the red and the blue). There should also be good contrast between the colours, and the combination should be upbeat, positive, not negative in any way. The design should have a strong central focus so that the eye is not forced to hop about between two or more competing elements, and, above all, the design should be unmistakably New Zealand; it must should 'New Zealand' and nothing else, and therefore the central symbol should say that.

In the ones submitted to the panel there is also the big no-no of the accidental (or deliberate?) use of phallic symbols, such as 3, 4 and 14 on this selection made for the New Zealand Herald. 14 is particularly obvious. Why could the people who selected those three not see that? Do they want New Zealand to be mocked round the world?

Number 4 is also bad from the point of view of colours; it has only two, and they are ones that do not have nearly enough contrast.

1 is too bland, and does not shout 'New Zealand', as a New Zealand flag should.

In 2 the eye hops from point to point; it is not held by a central focus. If the stars were bigger it would be much better, because they would not be fighting for attention with the vertical white bands.

5 is good use of colour and shape, although the eye is forced to go from side to side.

6 is fine to mark a fighter-jet or helicopter but not to be a flag, even though it has long been used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It is designed for a plane not a flag; but it is right to use the strongest symbol of New Zealand, the kiwi, something found nowhere else in the world--unlike a fern with a silver back, which is found elsewhere.

The black fern of 7 is too sombre, and the fern is too detailed to work on a flag.

8 makes the same mistakes as 2 and 7: the eye is forced to hop about, and those tiny stars are too detailed.

9 has two focal-points not one. It would be better to dump the stars.

10 features something no unique to New Zealand, and is too sombre.

11 is not a good variation on 5; the red is better than the black, and the black means that the design has four colours, which is not the best.

12 uses the English cross for some obscure reason (England is only part of the Great Britain from which the New Zealand nation sprang), plus four stars for no apparent reason, because they are not as they in the sky, and again it does not shout 'New Zealand' to the world

13 has been discussed in another blog posting. Obviously I think it is good, and it certainly keeps to the fundamentals of good design: only three colours, bold, a central focus, a symbol that more than any other shouts 'New Zealand.'

14 should not be considered, for apart from its obvious phallic reference, it is too detailed--those stars are two small for a flag.

15 does not shout 'New Zealand' and that dividing line near the bottom says nothing. If it is meant to a long white cloud it says it in an obscure whisper. It does not shout, and has not geographical reference. New Zealand is essential a north-south country between two oceans left and right, not an east-west one.

All elements of a flag's design should say something about the country. The American flag says 'America', it shouts it, every element is about America and nowhere else: the fifty stars represent the fifty states of the United States of America, and the thirteen stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the union. It uses only three colours, colours that have good contrast and that go well together, and that recognise the country's British heritage. There should be something of that. We should at least keep the blue, partly because of that, and partly because we are surrounded by the deep blue ocean.

'New Zealand' means 'New Sea-Land' and the flag should say that.

Any flag that does not instantly say 'This is New Zealand' should not even be considered. 

Most of the thousands of designs that have been submitted do not do that, and are design-disasters. Obviously their creators ignored the very good advice given on the Flag Consideration Panel's website.