New Zealand Is Holding A Vote To Dump The Union Jack From Its Flag -- Here Are Some Alternative Designs

NZL Flag1ShutterstockThe current flag of New Zealand, with the Union Jack on the left, and the Southern Cross on the right.

New Zealand announced on Wednesday that it will a referendum in 2016 to change its national flag, including getting rid of the British union jack design.

In 2015, the country will choose its favourite design among a handful of alternatives that have been proposed in the last few years. In 2016 another vote will decide between keeping the current flag or switching to the alternative.

The voting process is expected to cost 26 million New Zealand dollars ($US21 million), the Associated Press reports.

New Zealand’s prime minister, John Kay, who supports a change, has guaranteed the country can afford it. “Our flag is the most important symbol of our national identity and I believe that this is the right time for New Zealanders to consider changing the design to one that better reflects our status as a modern, independent nation,” he said in a statement.

New Zealand’s flag currently displays the Southern Cross, a constellation that is also an emblem of Australia, and the Union Jack in the top left corner, a heritage of the British colonial past. It was formally adopted in 1902, when the country was a dominion of the British Empire.

NZL Flag2Wikimedia FoundationThe Silver Fern is a national symbol of New Zealand, as much as the maple leaf is for Canada.

Young people tend to advocate for a new flag, an emblem that would symbolise the country’s national identity, and its Maori heritage, but army veterans are very attached to the current flag, and have campaigned for it to stay in place.

The new flag would almost certainly display the silver fern, a symbol of the Maori nation made famous around the world by the New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks.

A committee of “respected New Zealanders” will choose the flags for people to vote on.

There is also a dedicated website,, where people can propose their designs and argue for a change or not.

Although the official proposals have not been announced yet, here are some potential designs we have seen floating around the internet.

This flag is the symbol of the Maori nation, the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand.

NZL Flag3


This other proposal tries to bend together the southern cross, which is displayed in the current flag, and the silver fern.

NZL Flag4

This other proposal tries to bend together the southern cross, which is displayed in the current flag, and the silver fern.

This other flag instead displays a simple Maori motif. The green is to represent the flourishing vegetation.

This flag chooses to display the southern cross alone. The deep blue symbolise the ocean of New Zealand, while the Union Jack is taken away.

This flag instead uses a white motif to represent the waves of the ocean, while the Union Jack is replaced by a similar emblem with the letters NZ.

This flag is the most comprehensive one: there are both Union Jack and the southern cross, while the Silver Fern is represented by the colours in the left side.

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