Art & Culture

Could a kiwi with laser eyes be on this nation’s next flag?

A country's cultural identity is rooted by its national flag, but one country has opened up the design its next ensign to a public competition.

The Current New Zealand Flag
Probst | ullstein bild | Getty Images

New Zealand's government has decided that its current flag – in place since 1902 - needs a revamp. So its launched its 'Flag Consideration Project' – costing NZD 25.7 million ($19.2m) – which asks citizens to submit fresh designs, ahead of a vote next year.

Since this project has launched last Tuesday, at least 850 entries have been submitted. Many have taken great pride in the original while others have opted to highlight New Zealand's traditional culture, including the Kiwi bird, silver fern and Maori artwork.

"Kia Ora" ('This respectful / contemporary flag design / evolution / rebrand is bold, strong and immediately identifiable.')
Designer Credit: Mike Archer, from International

As anyone can submit, some designs have raised some eyebrows, including those featuring smiley faces and stickmen riding bikes, to "psychotic swirls" and "nyan kiwis".

Here are some of the contenders:

"Fire the Lazar!" ('The laser beam projects a powerful image of New Zealand.')
Designer Credit: James Gray, from Auckland
"Gains" ('The icons in this flag are representative of our achievements from the successful implantation of Maori culture in the mountains of the individual cultures that make up our multiculturalism, to the freedom of expression enjoyed by all')
Designer Credit: Logan Wu, from Wellington
"Snapper Quota Unicorn" ('New Zealanders are very interested in Snapper quota, and what better way to bring it to the people than this country's native bird - the Unihorned Kiwi bird.')
Designer Credit: Charlotte Drene, from Canterbury
"Sheep and Hokey Pokey" ('This design represents all of NZ because we have lots of sheep and love hokey pokey ice cream.')
Designer Credit: Jesse Gibbs, from Canterbury
"Te Pepe" ('That feel when our eyes gaze upon the flightless and majestic rare-Kiwi bird is a classic icon of NZ's deep relationship with our ancestors, their spirit, land and culture.')
Designer Credit: David Astil, from Waikato
"Fush & Chups" ('The yellow motif represents the golden sun, and the golden chips of this fair land. It's our British heritage, filling our hearts with pride.')
Designer Credit: Angela Inglis, from Auckland

The deadline for entries is July 16th 2015, and out of the hundreds of designs submitted, a selection of flags will be shortlisted by the Flag Consideration Panel, ahead of the first referendum this coming winter. Next march, a final vote with take place on whether citizens want to keep the original.

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