Last month, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith's Pioneer City Flag won the National Contemporary Art Award. The entry consisted of a new flag for a proposed colony on Mars and a press release.
It stated: "This project needed to be led by an artist with significant post-colonial experience, deep knowledge of Mars and the city itself, and the ability to create visual works that have the power to shape how we view ourselves."
The work is the latest in the artist's ongoing series based on our urge to leap into the unknown to claim new territory, present in everything from colonisation to home buyers purchasing property "off the plans". But it is also a fairly pointed reference to the absence of an artist or designer on the Flag Consideration Panel.
The cross-party group that appointed the panel decided it was not necessary for members to have art or design expertise as this would be provided to them by advisers as " technical feedback." Instead, the job of choosing four out of more than 10,000 suggested flags to be put to a public vote was given to a group of eminent citizens with backgrounds ranging from sport to business.
There are two main arguments for changing the flag. The first is that it is too similar to those of other former colonies, particularly Australia. This is the reason that of the 40 designs on the longlist only one has a Union Jack. The need to differentiate the country in the global marketplace, an exercise the Prime Minister optimistically believes could be "worth billions" to the economy, has seen the CEO of the local office of Saatchi and Saatchi appointed to the group.
The second key argument is that the current flag is not a fitting emblem for our country in 2015. The awareness campaign asked the public "What do you stand for?" The responses were as diverse as "the gospel of Jesus Christ", "feeding hungry kids" and "honesty".
Taking this information and deciding which flags best symbolised all these ideas fell to the committee.
The task might present a challenge for panelists whose backgrounds are in athletics or software development, but it is something artists do every day.
If the discussion around the flag appears at times to be disconnected from New Zealand's visual culture, it is because we are engaged in a nationwide conversation about aesthetics without a strong voice for those who create our culture.
Of course, artists in their thousands did put forward alternative designs.
It is telling that through this process the longlist contained more koru than silver ferns, though in public polls the latter are proving more popular.
While one is a sporting emblem and the other is more associated with indigenous culture, they both depict the same plant at different stages of development.
One symbolises a confident, fully grown nation and is easily recognisable by the international audience, the other embodies a young, unified country finding its way gradually, but not there yet.