The 40 contenders for New Zealand's new national flag

New Zealand is ready to vote on a new national flag after a government-appointed panel narrowed down the list of potential designs from 10,292 to 40.

The list will be subject to further scrutiny, from cultural, vexillology, art and design experts, as well as an intensive intellectual property review, before the panel will announce the four alternatives to be ranked in the first binding referendum in mid-September.

In an open letter to all New Zealanders, the panel said:

“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.

“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.”

A second referendum is planned for next year when the country will choose between the existing flag and the most popular new design.

The flag change is expected to cost the country NZ$26 million. Here’s the list of 40:

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