All Black captain Richie McCaw may be keen on using the silver fern in a new national flag – but New Zealand Rugby warned the design committee not to use its trademarked silver fern logo.
Officials were told permission to use the fern on a new flag was unlikely to be granted. If NZ Rugby had allowed its fern to be used on a flag and it made the final four, it would have had to assign all rights in it to the Crown at no cost. Other fern symbols can still be used and feature in three of the final four designs.
This is funny to me for a couple of reasons: firstly, Key has been pretty clear about his motives for changing the flag. It’s about having brand synergy with our internationally recognised sports teams who all wear the silver fern. He’s always wanted the silver fern as our flag, only now we learn he didn’t actually bother to talk to the people who own the trademark on that image to see if they were keen.
Secondly, rugby and patriotism are deeply linked in New Zealand. It’s supposed to be part of our identity. Good New Zealanders support the All Blacks. But the patriotism only goes one way: when you ask the Rugby Union to surrender their intellectual property to support New Zealand they tell you to fuck right off. Nice.