Wellington councillor calls for revival of city's old flag, featuring a colonial ship

A Wellington City councillor is calling for the revival of an old city flag sporting a colonial ship, Saint George's cross and a blue sea creature.

Mayor Andy Foster says it's a great idea as the design recognises the capital's history and heritage.

However, others believe it symbolises colonisation.

For those who weren't aware that Wellington had a flag - neither was the councillor campaigning to bring it back. 

"I was born and raised in Wellington and it was only about a year ago that I realised it existed," says councillor Nicola Young.

Councillor Nicola Young wants to revive the capital's former flag.
Councillor Nicola Young wants to revive the capital's former flag. Photo credit: Newshub

Designed in 1962 by the College of Arms in London, it was replaced in the 1990s by the 'Absolutely, Positively' Wellington slogan.

Young wants round two.

"I want people to be aware of the history of Wellington - the good, the bad and the ridiculous. Frankly, a flag that shows a galleon with some unnamed sea creature is pretty ridiculous," she says.

Young says she'd be happy enough if was acknowledged and put in a museum.

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimmons says it doesn't even deserve that.

"The history of colonisation in Wellington and New Zealand is a violent and oppressive history, I don't think celebrating [that] through reviving a flag is the way to go now," Fitzsimmons told Newshub.

Foster is happy for a flag rethink - on one condition.

"One of the things I'm very keen on is that we don't spend a lot of money if we don't have to - so if people can come up with ideas themselves, that's not a bad thing," the mayor says. 

So, Newshub took to the city's streets to ask Wellingtonians what they had in mind.

"Something indicating wind maybe," one local suggested.

"Some vegan cafes? Coffee?" said another.

One Wellington newbie said their first impression was "buses".

Wind, buses, coffee and veganism - some food for thought in the capital's flag debate