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Posted by Ellen
New Zealand is a land of ferns, notably of tree ferns, which give many Kiwi forests a certain Jurassic Park sort of character. And of course it is also the land of the silver fern, which is botanically one of the endemic tree ferns and artistically an abstracted swirl of a fern frond, as much corporate-style logo as patriotic emblem.
 
How many countries have logos? One recent Kiwi prime minister thought the silver fern belonged on New Zealand's flag, which Kiwis don't seem to wave or display very much and which foreigners often confuse with Australia's flag.
 
There's no silver fern on the flag–yet–though it's been on numerous coins and stamps over the years. The world knows it as the symbol of the fearsome All Blacks rugby team, and it is also associated with centuries-old Maori cultural motifs.
 
Recently, the silver fern has shown up on airplane fuselages, t-shirts, tattoos, beer commercials, wedding cakes, and the foaming milk atop expresso drinks.
 
Posted by Ellen

The little guy here in the white apron, with a pencil behind his ear–that's Mr. 4, the grocer-mascot of New Zealand's ubiquitous Four Square chain of supermarkets.

The mural featuring Mr. 4 covers a side wall of the art museum in Christchurch. The museum is closed at the moment and has been for a couple of years. All the artwork currently on exhibit is out in the streets of the city, like this piece.

Perhaps you are wondering why in the picture below there's a crane on top of the museum? Hold that thought; we'll get to it soon.