Reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Flag creator: It'd be a nice towel

Kyle Lockwood and his blue and black silver fern. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Kyle Lockwood and his blue and black silver fern. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Kyle Lockwood says if his design doesn't become New Zealand's next flag, it will make an excellent beach towel.

The blue and black silver fern is polling as the underdog, but he's still hopeful that it will win enough votes to replace the existing flag.

"You never know what could happen," the architectural designer said.

Unsurprisingly, he has voted for his own design from his home in Melbourne.

In the first referendum - where two of his designs were in the running - it wasn't so easy. His voting papers sat on his desk for a week, he said, while he decided whether to go for his blue and red or blue and black design. He still refuses to reveal which was his first choice.

Preliminary results of the referendum will be announced on Thursday and the official result released on March 30.

Lockwood never dreamed his flag design would come so far. He first drew it during a student lecture 16 years ago.

Now it flies on boats, baches, beaches and buildings around the country.

Lockwood told the Herald on Sunday he tried not to let criticism of the design get to him.

"Some people are going to call it a beach towel, but every national flag is made into beach towels. I think it might look all right as a beach towel - just as our existing flag does."

Lockwood wouldn't be drawn on other contenders defeated by his design but he admitted to a soft spot for some of the original entrants, including the infamous Laser Kiwi.

"It got people talking," he said, adding he also liked Jesse Gibbs' Sheep and Hokey Pokey design.

By Thursday 1.7 million votes had been received by the Electoral Commission. Lockwood said if his flag fell short it wouldn't be the end - the rights are owned by the Crown but will be returned to him.

His online store sells his version of the flag and related accessories but there are no beach towels ... yet.

- Herald on Sunday

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