Internet reaction: New Zealanders say 'yeah...nah' to changing the national flag
New Zealanders have said "yeah, nah" to changing the national flag.
The debate has inspired earnest discussion of national identity, colonial legacy and almost in the same breath, provoked howls of laughter with its "laser Kiwi", other silly designs and occasional mocking from comedian John Oliver.
And now it's over.
* Flag referendum: Black and blue silver fern design wins the first public vote
* How did the second most preferred first pick win the referendum?
* Flag 'embarrassment' for Table Tennis NZ
* Ooch why? Scotsman on our flag
* Full coverage: the flag debate
So what now?
After the first referendum results landed with a bit of a whimper on Thursday night, the twittersphere and Facebookers reacted with a mixture of glee, anticlimax and collective sighs.
Academic Jarrod Gilbert tweeted "There was only ever one. Curse you all" with a photograph of the laser Kiwi flag, a favourite of students.
There was only ever one. Curse you all. pic.twitter.com/wERZzSVkpX— Jarrod Gilbert (@JarrodGilbertNZ) March 24, 2016
Actor Sam Neill, about to hit the screens in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, called the alternative design an "ugly beach towel." Ouch.
One Wellingtonian, Philip Lyth, tweeted a link to 'flag announcement is here', which then flicked readers to YouTube and the video for Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up.
Aucklander Martin Partridge reckoned the Prime Minister, an advocate for change, might be spurred to go on a "ponytail pulling rampage."
Prime Minister John Key, on the official Twitter account, urged New Zealanders to be proud of their flag.
New Zealand has voted to retain our current flag. I encourage all NZers to use it, embrace it and, more importantly, be proud of it.— John Key (@johnkeypm) March 24, 2016
"I encourage all NZers to use it, embrace it and, more importantly, be proud of it," the post said.
Many comments focused on the cost and the relative merits of voting for a flag change while New Zealand remains a constitutional monarchy with HRH The Queen as head of state.
Seven Sharp reporter Kristin Hall, tongue firmly in cheek, posted a picture of a new design for the "next" referendum, showcasing "Flaggy McFlagface."
Another post showed a toilet roll emblazoned with Lockwood's Silver Fern.
So far, there has been no word from John Oliver.
Before the #nzflag is changed, the question needs to be asked - should NZ become a republic? Better use of a referendum? I think so.— Paula Korunić (@Paula_Korunic) March 24, 2016
Key, speaking to media about the result, said he was naturally a little bit disappointed there was not going to be a flag change.
The referendum was necessary for a young country discussing nationhood, he said.
"By the time the final votes were counted nearly one million voted for the new design.
'"We also had a nationwide discussion about the flag, about nationhood and what we stand for."
Key rejected suggestions the exercise was a costly process with no result.
"For me personally I will be supporting the current New Zealand flag.
"I don't think you can say it's come to nothing. Nearly one million have voted for change," Key said.