The debate about changing New Zealand’s flag has reignited. (Radio New Zealand’s report: Prime Minister raises prospect of changing the flag.) The silver fern is one of the favoured symbols for a new flag. Aside from being one of New Zealand’s icons, the silver fern is a real plant. But
Science curator Leon Perrie explains ‘Punga’ is a quintessential Kiwi word used to refer to tree ferns or sometimes, more specifically, the trunks of tree ferns.