10 Aug 2015

Flag design finalists unfurled

7:49 pm on 10 August 2015

The panel charged with choosing a possible new flag for New Zealand has whittled down 10,292 submissions to a longlist of just 40.

One of these 40 designs could become New Zealand's new national flag.

One of these 40 designs could become New Zealand's new national flag. Photo: SUPPLIED

The panel's chair, John Burrows, said it was important that designs were timeless, could work in a number of contexts, and were simple, uncluttered, and balanced.

"We would like to thank everyone for their design suggestions and we've been impressed with the very high standard," he said.

"The panel made a unanimous decision and selected flag designs we believe best reflect New Zealand's identity, as shared with us in the values and themes that New Zealanders expressed throughout this process."

In an open letter, the panel's members said that they hoped that the flag would communicate the essence of New Zealand, and speak to all Kiwis.

"A great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory.

"Our hope is that New Zealanders will see themselves reflected in these flags' symbols, colour and stories."

Certain images or themes cropped up multiple times - koru, silver ferns and the Southern Cross - with most colour schemes sticking to red, black or blue, and white.

The chosen 40 flags will now undergo robust checks, including intellectual property reviews, to make sure they could work as the New Zealand flag, before being narrowed down to just four in September.

The first referendum is set to be held between 20 November and 11 December.

The entire project is expected to cost over $25 million.

See the full list of flags here.

Social media reaction

New Zealanders on social media were quick to respond to the list of flags, though some expressed concerns whether the flag referendum was a good use of taxpayers' money.

Many of the flags chosen, including Otis Frizzell's 'MANAWA The People's Choice', appeared more than once on the longlist, in different colour schemes.

Twitter user Chris McDowall noted that, though there were 40 flags chosen, they represented the designs of just 25 creators.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs