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Ellesmere (New Zealand)

Last modified: 2018-10-13 by ian macdonald
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[Ellesmere, New Zealand ] image located by John Moody, 6 September 2018

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Logo flag

The verdict is in, the flag is unfurled, and now it's official: Ellesmere has its own flag. Or as flag referendum organiser Charles Nimmo puts it: "It's official, Ellesmere has its own unofficial flag, the flag of the people."

Nimmo, who runs Carbon Gym in the former Farmers Co-Op building, created a competition to design a flag for the community that could be flown high and with pride. The idea came to him after he bought the 90-year-old Farmers Co-Op building, which had a flagpole on its roof but no flag to fly. He encouraged the community to create a flag which embodied the Ellesmere area, promising to get a real flag produced from the design.

The Ellesmere area is in Canterbury's Selwyn district and includes the settlements of Leeston, Doyleston, Southbridge, Dunsandel, and Rakaia Huts.

On October 8, outgoing Selwyn Mayor Kelvin Coe performed his last official act - unveiling Ellesmere's flag, which was designed by Kiwi company Flagz. The winning flag, designed by Katie Gluyas, has a white background and depicts Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora in blue with the region's two names written inside two red koru. Local graphic artist Sam Wakelin took the essence of the winning designs and gave them a professional make-over to ensure it was an even playing field, Nimmo said. More than 30 designs were submitted and three final entries selected. The public then voted for their favourite flag. "I thought it would be a great chance to start a conversation about what is unique about our area, and what symbols could represent us. The spinoff I was hoping for was that we would build a little more district pride during the process."

The final designs will be reproduced on tea towels along with real Ellesmere flags. Fifteen per cent of the profit will go to the designers.
John Moody, 6 September 2018

A bit of background information. Ellesmere is a predominantly rural area to the southwest of Christchurch, in the South Island, and roughly bounded by the southern edge of Banks Peninsula's Port Hills in the north and the braided Rakaia River in the south. It's very flat, being in the heart of the Canterbury Plains, and is dominated by the large tidal lake/lagoon of Lake Ellesmere, also known occasionally by the Maori name of Te Waihora ("The spreading waters" - this name is rarely used, due to a similar better-known name, Lake Waihola, that of a lake near Dunedin). Ellesmere is basically a large bay separated from the sea by a wide sandy spit, and it is this lake which is shown on the flag.

The main settlements in the area, Dunsandel and Leeston, each have a population of around 1000. The area is also home to Lincoln, a similarly sized township and site of one of New Zealand's main agricultural colleges, Lincoln University.

A map can be found here:
James Dignan, 6 September 2018