The Flag Consideration Panel has released the official list of 40 flag designs from which they'll select the four alternative flag designs. In an open letter to all New Zealanders, the Panel has explained how the designs were chosen, and what happens next.
E ngā iwi, e ngā karangatanga, te iti me te rahi, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou
We want to thank everyone for the 10,292 designs you've suggested. Each of these was viewed by every Panel member. We have been impressed with the very high standard and greatly appreciate the thought and hard work that went into these designs. As a Panel, we have now selected a long list of designs for further investigation as part of the design review process.
A great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory. A great flag is timeless and communicates swiftly and potently the essence of the country it represents. A flag should carry sufficient dignity to be appropriate for all situations in which New Zealanders might be represented. It should speak to all Kiwis. Our hope is that New Zealanders will see themselves reflected in these flag's symbols, colour and stories.
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In reviewing flag designs, first and foremost, we were guided by what thousands of Kiwis across a range of communities told us when they shared what is special to them about New Zealand. This provided the Panel, and flag designers, with valuable direction as to how New Zealanders see our country and how those values might best be expressed in a new flag.
The message was clear, and the Panel agreed. A potential new flag should unmistakably be from New Zealand and celebrate us as a progressive, inclusive nation that is connected to its environment, and has a sense of its past and a vision for its future.
In finalising the long list we invited a number of cultural (including tikanga), vexillology, art and design experts to review the selection, to ensure the designs are workable and there are no known impediments. Detailed due diligence will now be completed on these designs, including robust intellectual property checks.
As a Panel, we've been appointed by government to determine the four alternative flag designs in a neutral and unbiased way. We are committed to doing that. We have selected for the long list designs that we believe best reflect the values New Zealanders have shared with us and you can view these on www.flag.govt.nz.
By mid-September we will select the four alternatives which eligible voters will rank in the first binding referendum later this year. This will be the opportunity for people to express their preferences and make choices. We encourage you to make sure you are enrolled to vote so that you can take part in this nationally significant process. In March next year, New Zealand will make history when it votes between the current flag and the preferred alternative.
The official long list of alternative flag designs is available for public viewing at flag.govt.nz.