While adults across New Zealand have been deciding on the country’s potential new flag, ChildForum has given a group of young children the chance to pick their favourite.
At the same time as the main referendum, more than 200 children aged from about three to five years at 10 early childhood centres from around New Zealand also ranked the five shortlisted designs.
Of the five flags the most popular was Option E - Silver Fern (red, white and blue). This flag received 52% of first preference votes among the children who took part.
Unlike some adults who may have voted strategically or as a result of political preferences, feedback showed that the children chose their favourite flag mostly based on the design and the ideas it gave them.
Many chose Option E because they liked the brightness of the design, particularly the red and the stars.
Of the other flags boys were more likely than girls to show a preference for the black and white flag with the fern, with many saying it reminded them of the All Blacks.
The Red Peak design received the lowest number of first choice votes among the children but some did say they liked all the triangles.
ChildForum's Warwick Marshall said it was great to see children having the opportunity to have their views recorded even though the vote was unofficial.
“While the children’s views won’t count in the final result it is interesting to know what future generations who would inherit any new flag might think of the designs. Children’s views are unsullied by any political inference and are generally based just on the design they like most and what is meaningful to them. The results show that even our youngest children are clearly capable of voting and making considered decisions and their input should be more frequently sought and valued by all of us”.
ChildForum will be running a second young children’s referendum asking children to choose between the current flag and its potential replacement. Early childhood education services who would like to take part are invited to contact the early childhood services and research national network through its website at www.ChildForum.com to sign up.
The ChildForum young children’s referendum ran from November 20th to December 11th in line with the main vote.
233 children (116 boys and 117 girls) from 10 early childhood centres across New Zealand took part and the voting was held at the centres with the help of early childhood educators.
The participating centres were:
Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre (Room 7), Kapiti Coast
Kakano Early Childhood Centre, Auckland
Lake Terrace Preschool (Kindy group), Burwood, Christchurch
Tikipunga Kindergarten, Northland Kindergarten Association
Pukehina EduCare, Te Puke, Bay of Plenty
Farm Friends Early Childhood Centre, Swanson, Auckland
ACE Nayland Centre, Nelson
Honey Bees Preschool, Auckland Central
Peel Forest Preschool, Geraldine
Giggles Early Learning Centre, Whangarei