The New Zealand flag tells a story and represents traditions, two of the reasons why it should not be changed according to Rotorua's young and old.
The Flag Consideration Project announced yesterday that the formal process for the New Zealand public to consider the national flag was underway.
Kiwis can participate online, while a roadshow including community meetings and engagement hui will be held across the country.
These meetings will provide an opportunity to discuss the flag and what it should signify about New Zealand, starting on May 16 in Christchurch.
Rotorua RSA president William McDonald and Rotorua Youth Council chairwoman Lucy Blackmore both said the current flag should stay.
"The flag is symbolic to New Zealanders," said Mr McDonald.
"The only time it should change is if we ever become a republic and I hope that never happens. The flag is the fabric of our nation. I think most soldiers would feel the same."
Miss Blackmore, a student at Western Heights High School, said she had talked to her peers about the referendum and the current flag.
"We believe New Zealand shouldn't be spending a large amount of money on changing the flag to something that doesn't reflect our ancestors and our legacy as a country," she said.
"Our current flag does. Changing our flag is unnecessary, perhaps the Government should use the money on other important areas, like poverty, to make a difference in our community."
Flag Consideration Panel chairman, Emeritus Professor John Burrows, said whether the public voted to change the flag or not; this was the first time in history the public had had the opportunity to discuss options and have a say in the future of the New Zealand flag.
"It is important that we, the panel, provide as many opportunities as possible for New Zealanders to get involved.
"Anyone can attend a community workshop, hold their own discussion or share their thoughts online."
Resource tools, including a community kit and schools resource kit, are available so schools can run their own flag discussions and referendums to mirror the formal process as part of their own learning exercise.
New Zealanders can also join the conversation online at www.standfor.co.nz to share their thoughts on what they believe the flag should stand for.