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  1. ITV Report

New Zealand selects 40 new designs for national flag

Some of the shortlisted entries to create the new New Zealand Flag Credit: Flag Consideration Project

New Zealand has shortlisted 40 possible designs which could become the country's new national flag.

Prime Minister John Key first suggested revamping the 112-year-old flag which features a Union Flag in the corner as it represented the country's colonial era and it looked too similar to Australia's.

'Unity Fern' by Paul Jackways has made the long list Credit: Paul Jackways

New Zealanders will have two referendums, the first at the end of this year to choose the best new design, and another in March 2016 to decide whether to retain its present flag or adopt the new design.

After receiving more than 10,000 potential designs, the Flag Consideration Panel has long listed 40 designs, only one of which features a Union Flag.

'Black Jack' by Mike Davison is the only design featuring a similar layout to New Zealand's current flag featuring a Union Jack. Credit: Mike Davison

Black Jack, by Mike Davison from Auckland, features a deconstructed Union Flag in white and red on a black background.

Mr Davison described his design as "an organic evolution rather than a revolution" which "pays homage to our past and embraces our independence".

Many of the selected designs are dominated by the silver fern and the koru, a spiral shaped fern motif used in Maori art symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace.

'Unity Koru' by Paul Densem Credit: Paul Densem

The long list will go forward to the second stage of the review process and in mid-September, the panel will announce the four shortlisted designs which will be ranked in the first binding referendum.

In an open letter to New Zealanders, the 12-member panel said they were impressed by the "high standard" of all of the 10,292 designs, many featuring the native Kiwi.

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 flags’ symbols, colour and stories.

– New Zealand's Flag Consideration Panel

Due diligence will be completed on the long list to ensure that they do not breach copyright or intellectual property laws.

The most popular design following the referendum will go to a final vote agains the current flag in March next year.

'Te Pepe' by David Astil from Waikato features a frog-kiwi hybrid, but it didn't make the long list Credit: David Astil

Those designs that didn't make the long list, including a 'deranged cat raking a garden' and one entitled 'Te Pepe' featuring a half frog, half Kiwi creature did not make the cut.

But all of the submissions have been published on the New Zealand government website.