I was thrilled to see a few weeks ago, to celebrate NZ’s Waitangi Day in the US, a 100m Silver Fern sand sculpture on Santa Monica beach in LA, built by several hundred Kiwis. The project helped launch the www.madefromnewzealand.com website promoting New Zealand enterprise.
The silver fern is probably recognized as NZ’s national emblem, perhaps even more so than the Kiwi.
Folks from outside NZ probably aren’t aware of a major campaign underway to change the NZ flag to something more representative of the country and not just our past ownership by the British Empire and our long-term membership of the Commonwealth. What more fitting image, it’s argued, could there be than the silver fern.
Images range from the stylized to the more representative.
Kiwis are generally sport-mad. The silver fern is also the national emblem for all our sportspeople who represent the country on the international sports scene. You’ll always see a wee silver fern on the upper left-hand side of the predominantly black shirt. In fact, pretty much all our national teams’ names relate to the silver fern and the predominant national colour of black.
We have the All Blacks - the world’s best rugby team, the Silver Ferns - the world’s best netball team, the Black Caps – our male not-so-great cricketeers (but we still love ‘em) and Black Ferns – our women cricketeers, the Black Sticks – our hockey team, the Tall Blacks – our slowly-getting-better men’s basketball team, and the Tall Ferns is our women’s team, the Black Sox – our oft-times world-champs softball team, the All Whites – our soccer team, and the Black Ferns – our world champs in women’s rugby. Believe it or not, our world champs in wheelchair rugby are the Wheel Blacks and the NZ badminton team was temporarily named the Black Cocks. Temporarily being the operative word here.
But what does it look like in the real world? Well, the fern is green on one side and, you guessed it, silver on the other. It’s a very evocative plant.
It even made a stamp.