The 7 most popular New Zealand flag proposals


Note: This post lists the flag designs that are most popular with the general public. For my own judgement on the best proposals, see this post.

When I was thinking of designs for the New Zealand flag competition, I was curious about the preferences of the wider public. No doubt others are too. Unfortunately, polls had a limited selection of designs to begin with, and while the government gallery had social media sharing and suggestions for every submitted flag, there was no way to sort the gallery to show the most popular.

So I made a quick Java script to scrape all entries in the website and identify the most popular flags. This is measured in number of times each design was independently suggested. Ten was the minimum number to get on this list.

Keep in mind that popularity does not equal quality, nor is it a final indicator of public preferences. It is affected by many factors like age, status and prior exposure of the design. This list is simply for interest of the data itself.

Flags are listed in ascending order of popularity. Each one lists the three main points of the respondents.

7. Silver Fern Flag – Kyle Lockwood’s ‘New Zealand Colours’

Silver Fern Flag – Kyle Lockwood’s 'New Zealand Colours' Designed by: Kyle Lockwood

Silver Fern Flag – Kyle Lockwood’s ‘New Zealand Colours’. Designed by: Kyle Lockwood.

Suggestions: 13

  • Similar to current flag
  • Black and white are national colours. Silver fern is national symbol. These are already recognised worldwide and have historical significance.
  • Māori represented by black

Binational Merger flag


Here’s my first New Zealand flag proposal that I am re-uploading because it was by far my most popular design proposal based on the feedback of 120 people*. I personally don’t like it much anymore though. The name is especially stupid. In 2014 I submitted it to the government gallery for consideration but it got rejected because of intellectual property shenanigans**.

The flag

Binational Merger

The explanation

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci. This design is a simple and clean combination of the Māori colours (top left half) and British/current colours (bottom right half), acknowledging and uniting the two main founding cultures of the nation. The colours in common overlap in the middle to form a bar reminiscent of the Union Jack’s bars. Finally, in the black field is a striking Southern Cross, giving the design a single focus and establishing continuity with the current flag. SVG file available on request.

The construction sheet

Construction sheet of the Binational Merger flag

* That either says something about the quality of this flag design or of my other proposals :O

** Having previously entered it into the public domain, I no longer have the rights to the design, therefore I cannot transfer said rights to the crown. Not to mention I can’t prove that I was the one who created it.

Top 50 New Zealand flag proposals


Note: This post features my own judgement on the best flag designs. For the proposals that are most popular with the general public, see this post.

Now that the New Zealand government has closed submissions for a new flag, I decided to go through and pick out the best. That’s right, I looked through all 10,293 of them. Don’t worry, it only took me 48 minutes to evaluate (about 0.28 seconds per flag; thank god for learning scanning techniques).

It probably helped that the whole gallery was a beautiful testament to Sturgeon’s Law (in this case more like 99% though), Poe’s Law and the futility of crowdsourcing design, making it easy to mentally filter out the crud and parodies. You wouldn’t believe the Nazi, apartheid, North Korea, IsraelPRC, Imperial Germany, Quebec (of all places), meme and My Little Pony based parodies that got through their filters. Seriously, the name “Moswald Osley” didn’t ring any alarms? Well done to the Lautaro joke for subtlety and this thing for sheer insanity though. All in all, an experience I would not recommend.

Anyway, here are the best I picked out, emulating the judges’ process of picking an initial list of 50-75 best designs. There were a lot of duplicates and near-duplicates so it’s hard to know exactly how to count and credit them (I’m sure I’ve missed a few credits, sorry!), but it should be around 50 some way or another.

The only restriction was that I didn’t include my own designs. Naturally enough I do like them, but including them would be a little biased! Oh, and I also automatically discarded anything too similar to another national flag, no matter how well designed or New Zealand-y it was. I hope the judging panel can do that, but since it has no vexillologists (flag experts) I don’t have a lot of faith.

This list is in no particular order.

Red, White and Blue Fern Flag


After publishing my New Zealand flag proposal concepts in 2014, this one topped the poll by a large margin so consider it my main proposal. I have now named it the “Red, White and Blue Fern Flag”.

Update: It has been submitted into the government’s flag gallery. Share if you like it!

The flag

Figure 1. Red, White and Blue Fern Flag. Full SVG and PDF vector files available on request.

Figure 1. Red, White and Blue Fern Flag. Vector files available on request. Credit for fern design goes to Dave Clark.