Flagpole gives neighbours talking point and brightens garden

By Derek Cheng

The neighbours don't find it too offensive, passers-by may find it interesting, and it brightens up the garden.

The 5m flagpole attracting attention in the Wellington suburb of Northland belongs to Maarten Wevers, chief executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

"It was given to me by my wife several years ago. My brother-in-law had one and I said I'd like a flagpole, and then it appeared.

"I don't raise it at dawn and lower at sunset, so I'm not particularly military in my flag traditions, but I enjoy having something flying there. It adds colour to the garden and is a good talking point."

Mr Wevers supports a change in the New Zealand flag, although that's strictly his personal view.

"I'm not sure that having another country's flag on our flag is the best way to go."

He doesn't have a preference for a new design, but he leans more towards a koru than a silver fern.

"National flags are quite important, and I just think we can do a bit better.

Finding agreement on a new flag is always going to be a challenge, but I have no doubt that at some point we will have a new flag."

Mr Wevers has about 20 flags in his collection, most of them associated with family history or places he has visited. Among his collection are the flags of New Zealand, Scotland, the Dutch province where he was born, the city of Nelson - "an attractive flag" - and Papua New Guinea, where he was the high commissioner.

He has flown the Tino Rangatiratanga flag and the United Tribes flag, New Zealand's first official flag, which is a red St George's Cross with a smaller cross in the corner with four stars.

He is unsure what he will be flying tomorrow, Waitangi Day, but he knows the correct protocol for flying both the New Zealand and the Tino Rangatiratanga flags on the same pole.

But most of the time he just picks one that takes his fancy on the day.

"When you have 20 to choose from, you just sort of look through and say, 'What will I do today?'

"My mother was English, so I have the English flag on her birthday - but I don't always remember."

- NZ Herald

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