News

New Zealand might be getting a new flag – and here are the awesome designs

Someone please let Geri Halliwell down gently: the Union Jack is on its way out.

We’re not referring to the ongoing tussle over Scottish independence (just yet), rather the news that New Zealand is considering changing its flag, a move which would surely mean banishing the tiny Union Jack present in its top left corner forever.

It’s not all bad though: a special committee has picked 40 favourites from 10,292 new flag designs and the results are cooler than you might expect.

First flown in 1902, New Zealand’s current flag has long been a source of debate for members of the public. Some feel it is far too alike to the Australian flag, making the issue of constantly being compared to their southern hemisphere neighbours even worse, while others actually believe the Union Jack itself to be the problem, an outdated relic referring to a colonial past.

Then there’s the staunch supporters of the flag, proud of its tradition and also not too happy at the projected £11m cost of such a widespread change. Such is the debate, the government has said decisions on the flag should be made by all New Zealanders eligible to vote, with a panel choosing the final four flag designs by mid-September – these will be voted for in a November referendum.

So have a gander at the 40–strong shortlist below.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs

    Black & White Fern

    [Sugggested by] Alofi Kanter from Auckland

    This design needs no introduction. It announces, emphatically, and unequivocally, Aotearoa New Zealand! It is simple. The fern with our national colours. Credit for the fern goes to The New Zealand Way Limited.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 1

    Fern (Green, Black & White)

    Designed by: Clay Sinclair and Sandra Ellmers from Waikato

    "The simplicity of the design and use of green, black and white moulded together in the form of our beloved fern stands for who we are as a nation. We now see ourselves as a young, proud, green, independent, multicultural nation. This design ties all of those important aspects of who we are and what we stand for together. The colour black represents reflection; not forgetting our past and choosing our future path wisely. The 16 white fronds represent the regions of Aotearoa and its green land, continuing to inspire and provide."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 2

    Raranga

    Pax Zwanikken from Nelson

    "Inspired by the geometric forms and colours found in Māori raranga and tukutuku. Weaving is an important part of our collective cultures, with strong roots in New Zealand and the Pacific, as well as the tartans, checks and tweeds of the British Isles. It also nods to the intricate thread work of Chinese tapestries, Indian silks and more. It speaks of our ancestors, has created fabric for warmth, sails for transport to our land, and tapestries to tell our stories."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 3

    Southern Koru

    Designed by: Sven Baker from Wellington

    "This design represents peace, tranquillity, personal growth, positive change and awakening. The koru represents new life and harmony and forms a wave in the negative space that represents the oceans that surround our land and Kupe’s journey across them guided by the stars to arrive in Aotearoa."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 4

    Pikopiko

    Designed by: Grant Pascoe from Canterbury

    "The fern is synonymous with New Zealand and symbolic of new beginnings, life, opportunity, strength and peace. It was a food source for Māori which is a great metaphor for the growth of a nation. It has been visually depicted as a traditional Koru in a contemporary composition, suggesting the unity and oneness between past and present cultures. The design has a positive upwards momentum that instils pride, beauty, progress and success. Inspired by Ron Davidson’s original design: Our new NZ flag."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 5

    White & Black Fern

    Designed by: Alofi Kanter from Auckland

    Just the silver fern. Black and white. On a flag, saying loud and clear: New Zealand. The design is simple and pure, using our national colours. Credit for the fern goes to The New Zealand Way Limited.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 6

    Silver Fern

    Designed by: Kyle Lockwood from Wellington

    "The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations and symbolic of our pride and achievements. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa's peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. "

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 7

    Unity Fern (Red & Blue)

    Designed by: Paul Jackways from Canterbury

    The fern represents New Zealand. The white above signifies New Zealand as the Land of the Long White Cloud, and the white on the bottom half of the fern is to symbolise the fern, a unique symbol of New Zealand. The red top half of the fern next to the white background takes inspiration from the national Māori flag, Tino Rangatiratanga. The blue underneath the fern is from the Union Jack and the 1902 New Zealand flag. Credit for the fern goes to The New Zealand Way Limited.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 8

    Koru and Stars

    Designed by: Alan Tran from Auckland

    The koru is a New Zealand symbol that represents new life, growth, strength and peace and is an iconic symbol of New Zealand flora. This flag design replaces the Union Jack with a symbol that is unique to New Zealand and distinguishes itself without straying too far in appearance from the 1902 New Zealand flag.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 9

    Koru (Black)

    Designed by: Andrew Fyfe from Wellington

    As our flag unfurls, so too does its koru. The koru represents the fern frond, but is also reminiscent of a wave, a cloud, and a ram’s horn. In Māori kowhaiwhai patterns the the koru represent new life, growth, strength and peace, and for this reason has taken a special place in Aotearoa’s visual language.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 10

    Black Jack

    Designed by: Mike Davison from Auckland

    "Familiar, yet distinctly ours - this design reflects our people through an organic evolution rather than a revolution. It pays homage to our past, embraces our independence and reflects the pride we have in our shared achievements to date, and those yet to come."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 11

    Koru (Blue)

    Designed by: Andrew Fyfe from Wellington

    As our flag unfurls, so too does its koru. The koru represents the fern frond, but is also reminiscent of a wave, a cloud, and a ram’s horn. In Māori kowhaiwhai patterns the koru represent new life, growth, strength and peace, and for this reason has crossed cultures, taking a special place in Aotearoa’s visual language. It is the colour of the sea and the sky, both of which surround us.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 12

    Red Peak

    Designed by: Aaron Dustin from Wellington

    Simplified geometric elements based on Taniko pattern representing land, sky, inspired by Rangi & Papa mythology, and a reference to heritage from the 1902 New Zealand flag.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 13

    NZ One

    Designed by: Travis Cunningham from Northland

    This design symbolises clean, green New Zealand. The balanced design represents freedom of speech and equality for all races, genders and ages.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 14

    New Zealand Matariki

    Designed by: John Kelleher from Auckland

    In this flag design, the Matariki constellation symbolises our journey. The Long White Cloud and the green land formation can be interpreted in a literal or symbolic manner, anchoring us and representing growth.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 15

    Curly Koru

    Designed by: Daniel Crayford and Leon Cayford from Auckland

    This unfurling pikopiko koru is about vibrancy and energy contained in a small space. By using the Māori spiral design and applying the colours of the 1902 New Zealand flag, it honours both the indigenous and colonial cultures.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 16

    Silver Fern (Black,White & Blue)

    Designed by: Kyle Lockwood from Wellington

    Suggested by: silverfernflag.org from Wellington

    "The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa's peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. The bright blue represents our clear atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean, over which all New Zealanders, or their ancestors, crossed to get here. The Southern Cross represents our geographic location in the antipodes. It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 17

    Land Of The Long White Cloud

    Designed by: Mike Archer from International

    "This design subtly references ‘The Land Of The Long White Cloud’, the Southern Cross and the Pacific Ring of Fire, with a nod to New Zealand’s silver fern and our geographic location within the world. The colour palette is iconic and incorporates elements from the 1902 New Zealand flag and the national Māori flag."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 18

    Silver Fern (Green)

    Designed by: Roger Clarke from Waikato

    Suggested by: Roger Clarke from Waikato

    "The silver fern represents our green country, our vast outdoors, national parks and farming. Equally it represents bravery and strength on the sports field. Inspired by the Kyle Lockwood fern."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 19

    Koru Fin

    Designed by: Daniel Crayford and Leon Cayford from Auckland

    This is an evolution of the 1902 New Zealand flag. The unfurling white koru design, formed by the red and blue sides meeting together, represents a young land, full of potential. Next to it sits the guiding stars of the Southern Cross, or in Māori tradition, the Anchor or Arrow. No matter what object they represent, they help us find our way, and remind us of home.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 20

    Manawa (Blue & Green)

    Designed by: Otis Frizzell from Auckland

    This design incorporates the long white cloud/whitecaps. The green of the land and sea. The Southern Cross on the blue background pays homage to the 1902 New Zealand flag, but the Māori design element replaces the Union Jack. 

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 21

    Unity Koru (Red & Blue)

    Designed by: Sven Baker from Wellington

    "An abstract Koru forming a unity symbol for the New Zealand people, speaking to a shared spirit and ambition for the future of New Zealand. The contemporary circular Koru design is inspired by a new fern frond unfurling as it grows represents new life and harmony, the circle of life representing no beginning or end."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 22

    Silver Fern (Black with Red Stars)

    Designed by: Kyle Lockwood from Auckland

    Suggested by: Hayden Crosby from Auckland

    "The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa's peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. The Southern Cross represents our geographic location in the antipodes. It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 23

    The Seven Stars of Matariki

    Designed by: Matthew Clare from Hawke’s Bay

    The seven stars of Matariki form a constellation important to New Zealand. This design retains the star element of the 1902 New Zealand flag, but makes it about being here now. The black field is a nod to the fields of our sports teams, proving that with determination and hard work every day, big things can happen.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 24

    Modern Hundertwasser

    Designed by: Tomas Cottle from Auckland

    The koru, in the shape of an unfurling fern frond, symbolises growth, strength, new life and peace. The forest green alludes to the unique natural beauty of New Zealand, the outdoors, our sport and agriculture. The white represents the long white cloud of Aotearoa, our integrity, and peace. The two colours together can be seen as humanity in harmony with nature. The design is a simplified adaption of the 1983 flag design proposed by artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 25

    Moving Forward

    Designed by: Dominic Carroll from Gisborne

    "This design represents our clean, green and forward thinking country. The Koru pattern is symbolic of New Zealand. It represents the fern in its infancy and in growth, like our young country under the Southern Cross. It also symbolises a wave drawing things in – moving forward."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 26

    Embrace (Red & Blue)

    Designed by: Denise Fung from Canterbury

    The colours of the Union Jack, white, blue and red, represent that New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth. The Southern Cross indicates our geographic location, and is retained from the 1902 New Zealand flag. The fern, with its Koru head, combines the two main icons of New Zealand. It represents the personality of New Zealand: growth through hard work, love for family, the culture of Māori, uniqueness, and pride. 

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 27

    Unity Koru

    Designed by: Paul Densem from Wellington

    This koru nestles between the traditional colours of the 1902 New Zealand flag, suggesting unity and tolerance. The circular shape of the koru helps to convey the idea of perpetual movement.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 28

    Tukutuku

    Designed by: Pax Zwanikken from Nelson

    Inspired by the geometric forms and colours found in Māori raranga and tukutuku. Weaving is an important part of our collective cultures, with strong roots in New Zealand and the Pacific, as well as the tartans, checks and tweeds of the British Isles. It also nods to the intricate thread work of Chinese tapestries, Indian silks and more. It speaks of our ancestors, has created fabric for warmth, sails for transport to our land, and tapestries to tell our stories.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 29

    Huihui/Together

    Designed by: Sven Baker from Wellington

    "This design represents the partnership forged between Māori and European settlers in the Treaty, through the interlocking Gordon Walters’ koru forms. These also symbolise Rangi and Papa – the sky and earth. A unity symbol that speaks to a shared spirit and collective ambition for the future."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 30

    Silver Fern (Black,White & Red)

    Designed by: Kyle Lockwood from Wellington

    Suggested by: silverfernflag.org from Wellington

    "The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa's peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. The colour red represents our heritage and sacrifices made. Black is a colour loved by Kiwis and symbolic of our pride and achievements. The Southern Cross represents our geographic location in the antipodes. It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 31

    Finding Unity in Community

    Designed by: Dave Sauvage from Auckland

    This flag tells the story of a 21st century Pacific democracy facing its future with confidence, optimism, pride and respect for all. Community is evoked by the combination of symbols and colours from both Māori and British traditions, combined in an innovative Kiwi way. It introduces a new sense of dynamism, with the striking and unique koru symbol and the hint of a waka ploughing through the blue waters of the ocean. This nautical reference tells the history of all our early migrants and our journey together into the future. The koru cradles within its tightly coiled shape many small individual fronds representing our multicultural society and the vision of their future potential. The koru also represents the love and respect we have for our environment. 

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 32

    Southern Cross Horizon

    Designed by: Sven Baker from Wellington

    This design combines the iconic Southern Cross constellation with an abstract horizon line intended to represent Aotearoa - land of the long white cloud.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 33

    New Southern Cross

    Designed by: Wayne William Doyle from Canterbury

    This design highlights our journey, using the iconic Southern Cross stars (and traditional element of the 1902 New Zealand flag) to symbolise our journey forward.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 34

    Inclusive

    Designed by: Dominic Carroll from Gisborne

    "The Koru pattern is symbolic of New Zealand. It represents the fern in its infancy and in growth, like our young country under the Southern Cross. It also symbolises inclusion with a wave passing between us and drawing us in together."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 35

    Land Of The Long White Cloud (Ocean Blue)

    Designed by: Mike Archer from International

    "This design subtly references ‘The Land Of The Long White Cloud’ and the Southern Cross, with a nod to New Zealand’s silver fern and our geographic location within the world. The colour palette is iconic and has been reduced to reflect New Zealand’s strong connection with the ocean and environment - past, present and future."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 36

    Silver Fern (Black & Silver)

    Designed by: Sven Baker from Wellington

    A contemporary silver fern which is widely representative of New Zealand and New Zealanders. A symbol each of us relate to, powerful and emotional inspiration at times when it matters. An iconic mark every New Zealander can relate to, standing out in the crowd, as a nation proud of our uniqueness and value. Credit for the fern goes to The New Zealand Way Limited. 

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 37

    Silver Fern (Red,White & Blue)

    Designed by: Kyle Lockwood from Wellington

    Suggested by: silverfernflag.org from Wellington

    The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa's peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. The red represents our heritage and sacrifices made. Blue represents our clear atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean, over which all New Zealanders, or their ancestors, crossed to get here. The Southern Cross represents our geographic location in the antipodes. It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands.

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 38

    Wā kāinga/Home

    Designed by: Grant Alexander (principal), Alice Murray, Thomas Lawlor, Jared McDowell from Auckland

    Suggested by: Studio Alexander from Auckland

    "The white diagonal shape is representative of the Maihi (Māori meeting house). Symbolic of the coming together of all three influences Maori, Colonial past, multicultural future. The red triangle represents our Māori heritage. The use of red, black and white references Tino Rangatiratanga. The blue triangle represents our British heritage, bordering a white diagonal line symbolising the Union Jack. The black triangle is offering up strength and optimism in a national context as well as being symbolic of our mountainous landscape."

  • New Zealand might be getting a new flag - and here are the awesome designs 39

    Manawa (Black & Green)

    Designed by: Otis Frizzell from Auckland

    "This design is stripped back, simple and punchy. The night sky. The Southern Cross. The long white cloud/whitecaps. The green of the land and sea. All with a strong Māori design element tying it together."