We launch an exciting initiative this month: a competition to design the New Zealand Backcountry flag. What started out as a wee bit of a jab at the rather random and expensive (think how many huts $26 million could build!) national flag debate soon developed into something a little more serious. Surely, an asset of such great value to New Zealand should have a flag? Something that signifies its importance to those of us who value the conservation estate for the many exciting recreational opportunities it provides, and perhaps unifies all those disparate groups who do their bit to ensure it’s here for future generations to enjoy.
We don’t know if we’ll ever get such a flag, but it’s worth a shot. So, all you budding designers and artists out there who may have seen your aspirations to design the new New Zealand flag come to nothing, now’s your chance to have a go at designing the Backcountry flag – we’ve made it super simple by providing a blank space in the magazine (p26) for you to flex your drawing muscles.
Alright, it’s confession time. I had no plans to be involved with judging the Backcountry flag competition, but since Wilderness is hosting it and organising it, we felt someone from the team should do the honours. Problem is, we’ve got some pretty heavy-hitting judges on our panel. There’s Graeme Dingle, a world-class mountaineer, founder of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and Foundation for Youth Development. Jamie Fitzgerald has rowed the Atlantic and walked to the South Pole. Lani Evans was in the first all-female team to traverse the Southern Alps. You get where I’m going; next to these guys, ‘Alistair Hall is the editor of Wilderness magazine’ just looks lame. But in trying to boost my profile and conjure up an achievement or two, I stumbled across a milestone: this issue marks my 100th as editor of Wilderness. Trust me, that’s a serious amount of editorial letters.
It’s been a wonderful 100 issues, filled with many highlights – mostly trips undertaken for the magazine, but also colleagues worked with and acquaintances made.
The real success of Wilderness – and by any measure it is a success: published monthly now for 24 years – is the readers who are, practically every single one of them, out there, exploring the wilderness and inspiring me and everyone else who picks up the magazine to go for a weekend wander.
Cheers, and here’s to a few more issues at least.
– Alistair Hall