Rotorua Olympian and world champion rower Julia Edward says she would still wear the New Zealand flag with pride, despite having voted for the silver fern design.

"For me, I just think our current flag is quite similar to Australia's and I thought they could of done something quite new and exciting.

"And I really like the fern. I thought that was a good representation of New Zealand," she said. "But in saying that, in the past I have been proud to hold up our flag and I will continue to hold it up with pride."

The preliminary results of the second referendum for the New Zealand flag were announced on Thursday night, with the nation voting to keep the current flag.


More than 70 per cent of eligible Rotorua voters had their say in the second flag referendum - and the majority voted to keep the current flag.

Nationally, voter turnout was 67.3 per cent. Of those, 43.16 per cent voted for the alternative silver fern flag and 56.61 per cent to keep the current flag.

The official result would be announced on Wednesday but the result was not expected to change because of the large margin.

Edward said it would have been great to incorporate the silver fern into the flag but she was not upset by the final result.

"I'm not strongly either way and I was happy to continue with our current flag."

Labour Party spokesman for Rotorua, and owner of Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar, Tamati Coffey celebrated the result on Thursday night. He dusted off a few flags and a bunting with the current flag design on it, to string up around the bar.

"I think the whole process has been flawed from the start. Firstly, it was not something that the public wanted. That should be when we go to a referendum and spend the kind of money that we need to spend on it," he said,

"But as far as I'm concerned no one was talking about this. It was not a hot topic, it just come out of the blue. So it was a top-down type of referendum."

He also said the panel in charge of the whole process did not include any top New Zealand designers, which he said was strange.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said he was happy with the whole process. "More than two million New Zealanders decided to have their say which is a very good response," he said.

"And it has to be a good thing having people talk about what it means to be a New Zealander, and I think there has been a lot of that."

How you voted:
- Rotorua electorate: (70.6% turnout)
Option A: Silver Fern Flag 43.6%
Option B: Current New Zealand Flag 56.2%
- Waiariki electorate: (48.4% turnout)
Option A: Silver Fern Flag 23.8%
Option B: Current New Zealand Flag 75.8%