2020: a year in flags

From global warming and Covid flags to recently departed friends and berating Netflix, Paekākāriki local Keith Johnson’s choice of a remarkable range of flags often comments cleverly on issues. Flown from a flagpole on the northern edge of the Kāpiti village, he shares the reasons behind his 2020 selections.

If you regularly access the beach through the south end of Queen Elizabeth Park, chances are you’ve spotted the ever-changing flags outside Keith Johnson’s whare.

What flags did I fly in 2020 and why? Lots. Why, is the challenging question. My choices have been idiosyncratic and erratic. Because I felt like it is hardly an adequate answer.

There was a lot of Covid flag flying. As different places came under pressure, I would fly flags in solidarity with the people.

The Community of Madrid

I flew the Vietnamese flag because they had done so well in controlling Covid, despite sharing a 1400 kilometre border with China.

The flag of Vietnam, or cờ đỏ sao vàng

I flew the flags of Ameland and Amsterdam for Dutch visitors to the village and, particularly, for a Dutch couple who spent lockdown in the neighbouring Paekākāriki Holiday Park and left me a lovely note of thanks. 

Amsterdam’s flag seemed particularly appropriate during a Covid lockdown as the three Xs are said to represent the threats to the city in the middle ages: fire, flood, and the plague.

The flag of Amsterdam

I fly flags for people. Beloved Don Polly was honoured with the Mexican flag when he passed away recently and Diego Maradona with the Argentine flag, of course.

Bandera de México
The flag of Argentina 

For many years I have flown the flags of the places at the greatest risk of being hammered by global warming:

The Maldives

2020 was the year when Black (and Brown) Lives Matter achieved much greater prominence, sadly because so many black lives had been lost:

Tino Rangitiratanga
the Australian Aboriginal flag
The Kanaka Maoli flag of the Hawaiian people

A couple of years ago we visited Chile and Argentina and I bought flags of the Mapuche people from either side of the Andes:

The Chilean Mapuche flag
A hand-sewn Wiphala flag of Andean people from further to the north.

I fly the flag of Canada’s Metis people also because it speaks to me of the infinity of possibilities.

And sometimes I fly flags for sheer foolishness.

As I write this, the flag of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth of England and Scotland of the 1650s is flying. I chose it because Netflix has just decided not to add a disclaimer for The Crown reminding viewers that it was a work of fiction. Off with their heads!