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New Plymouth (New Zealand)

Last modified: 2020-10-10 by ian macdonald
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[New Plymouth, New Zealand ] image located by Valentin Poposki, 23 September 2020

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The flag


A New Plymouth family unfurled some forgotten history when they asked NPDC to look out an old City flag. Jenny Doherty and her son, Jade Morgan, wanted one of the flags that Jenny’s father helped design for the City of New Plymouth back in 1986 so they could copy it for the family history. The flag disappeared from public view when the city became part of New Plymouth District in the 1990 local government merger.

Jenny’s father, engineer Howard Wright, had shunned all recognition for the flag, which he drew up during a public design competition. “It was awesome that NPDC found the flag after so long. Dad loved this place and he always tried to give back to the community, but he never liked being in the spotlight. So during the flag competition he quietly handed his drawings to City Councillor Willie Still and asked him to put them forward – and the rest is history,” said Jenny.

More than 30 years after it was created, the flag features all the great aspects of the District – and finding it helps commemorate the outstanding contribution of Howard Wright to Taranaki, said NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker. “You could say Howard Wright was one of the early champions of our Lifestyle Capital. He was a humble Taranaki legend and his design celebrated our unique landscape with our Mounga, our coast and our heritage,” said Ms Baker. “It’s thanks to the creativity and vision of people like Howard Wright that our district is a great place to live today.”

Fast Facts: City of New Plymouth flag and Howard Wright
New Plymouth City’s Junior Council, made up of people from intermediate and high schools, first raised the idea of a flag in 1986. The competition only required that the flag had to represent the City of New Plymouth. Howard Wright gave his flag drawings to Councillor Willie Still, with a note saying, “I don’t want to enter a competition, but would be happy to develop this further”.

The full City Council chose Wright’s design and the flag was given to visiting dignitaries. The design represents a view of the New Plymouth from offshore and highlights the Mounga and the sea.

Lepperton-born Howard Wright (1925 – 2012) was an engineer and inventor. In his basement in Devon Street, he set up Wright Pacific, which exported hospital equipment around the world. NPDC made Howard an Honorary Ambassador in 1990 and he was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2011 New Year’s Honours.
Valentin Poposki, 23 September 2020

A little bit of information which might explain the flag and something about New Plymouth as well… New Plymouth is a city of about 40,000 people on the central West Coast of the North Island, and is the regional capital of the Taranaki region. Its main industries include fishing and fuel production (New Zealand's main oil and gas field lies off the coast of Taranaki).

Taranaki is also the name all the prominent volcanic cone which dominates the landscape of the region and is clearly visible from the city. It is this volcano, formally known as Mount Egmont, that is featured on the flag, shown as it would be seen from off the coast of New Plymouth. Mt Taranaki is a dormant volcano which last erupted in about 1700. It is an iconic symbol in New Zealand - like Japan's Fujiyama it is an almost perfect cone, and is easily recognisable by all New Zealanders. It is the central feature of Egmont/Taranaki National Park.
James Dignan, 23 September 2020