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5. I guess you might want to know who I am

Patricia Roberts (2005)

Hello – yes, that's me on the left. Back in 2004, when there was a major push for changing our flag, I could see how upsetting it was for some people, and this website was created as a result of that. It's my way of helping people understand what the flag debate is about, and I wanted to offer some ways that would make the transition easier if we do have a new flag.

My interest in the debate began many years ago. I was at school when Canada changed from their Union Jack flag, and I thought their new flag was wonderful. Over the years since, I've often wished we could have our own beautiful flag of New Zealand. To me, our flag mostly says Britain, and it's never really felt like my flag. I respect its meaning in any historical situation (and can get quite emotional when I see what it means to others), but I'll never stop wanting a flag that shows our own country. If you're opposed to any change, all I ask is that you look at the information, and consider the pros and cons.

In earlier years, I had a lot to do with older people, and a number of my relatives fought in the war, so it matters to me that the older generation and their views are considered. For them especially, I hope I've made it a little easier to understand the reasons for changing the flag, and provided some answers for the concerns people have. This website is my own work, and I'm just an everyday mum (and grandmother) who wants a new flag, with some ideas that endeavour to keep everyone happy. (See Page 1, and my flag designs). Whether you agree with my thinking or not, I will be pleased to hear your views. I’m sure my ideas are more important than anything about me, but if it helps to know I’m a genuine Kiwi, then read on .....

I am from a large rural Hawke’s Bay family (8 kids), and have 4 adult children of my own. My New Zealand heritage goes back to the earliest colonial settlers. Before the Depression, my mother’s family owned and farmed Forsyth Island in the Marlborough Sounds. My paternal grandfather was a Civil Engineer, involved in major projects that included the Mohaka Viaduct, the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and the Christchurch to Lyttelton Tunnel.

I have no Maori blood, but have regard for the Maori perspective. My father went to Raupunga Native School, my daughter sat School C Maori Language, and at Kereru School my sisters and I learnt how to make and use Maori poi, piupiu etc, as well as some basic language and songs. When I looked for something suitable for my flag/s, I was in awe of the incredibly clever designs of Maori kowhaiwhai patterns (and decided on a simple koru, familiar to us all).

I don't think of myself as European, and the term makes me feel alienated. I am simply a New Zealander – proud to be Pakeha, and New Zealand is where I belong – totally. I am grateful the Treaty gives me that absolute right and assurance. In 2012, I travelled around Europe and the UK, and really enjoyed seeing Britain where my ancestors came from – but that was over 170 years ago, and my pride belongs here in my own beautiful country. I loved seeing all these British flags flying in London, and I'll be happy to remain part of the Commonwealth and the Monarchy. I just think New Zealand's flag (and our anthem) should be about us, and not about Britain, which is thousands of miles away.

A special thankyou to my son, Michael, for all his help in setting up this website (2005).

To visitors in 2015: Thanks for reading my thoughts and ideas. Now you can read what others think, and have your say. (If that link isn't showing on Page 6, please try again later).

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