Rejected flag designs show laser kiwi wasn't really that outlandish gallery

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Various national icons featured prominently among the 10,000-plus rejected flag designs, which have never been seen publicly before.

New Zealand's relationship with the United States was another common theme.

Swastikas were common, but Confederate flags less so.

Proof that laser kiwi was not as outlandish as many thought.

At least no-one could accuse this one of being dull.

The contrast between child poverty and the $26 million spent on the flag project popped up several times.

How we see ourselves?

Lord of the Rings was a popular theme.

"It's quite an interesting glimpse into the New Zealand psyche," said Ben Moore, who lodged the Official Information Act request to see the rejected designs.

Variations on the tino rangatiratanga flag abounded.

The silver fern was a popular choice, but this one was never going to fly.

Another product of a fruitful imagination.

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If you thought the laser kiwi flag design was outlandish, it turns out it had nothing on some of the thousands of entries rejected at the first hurdle.

About 2700 designs rejected for failing to meet the required criteria have been released by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under the Official Information Act.

Favourite subjects included the existing flag, and Prime Minister John Key, who was depicted wearing and pulling ponytails, wearing a  crown, and with a Pinocchio nose. 

One of more than 10,000 rejected entries in the national flag referendum that have never been seen publicly.
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One of more than 10,000 rejected entries in the national flag referendum that have never been seen publicly.

The referendum's cost of $26 million sparked many people's imaginations, such as a toilet with $26m beside it, Key's face on a fake $26m banknote, and the motif: "I stand for spending 26 million $ on addressing child poverty not a flag".

READ MORE:
* See the rejected flags

* Laser kiwi artist unimpressed with flag options
* 40 flag designs picked from more than 10,000

Lorde and Lord of the Rings inspired their fair share of entries, as did Richie McCaw and the Queen. Little Ponies, cats and sheep were relatively common themes, along with white elephants.

Some entries lacked subtlety, such as "We are not Australians" and "We hate Australia", along with swastikas. Others turned dirty, such as a sheep shagger, plus a handful of penis and bottom drawings.

Other politicians were hoisted on imaginary flag poles, including Winston Peters.

There were, of course, plenty of serious entries, many featuring a fern or kiwi. Some rejected entries were blanked out under privacy rules.

Wellington man Ben Moore lodged the Official Information Act request after a friend's cat drawing entry was rejected, and he noticed that none of the 40 flag designs initially selected had cats on them.

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Last week, he received a hard copy of about 2700 flag designs, and then received a digital copy with 69 pages of rejected flags on Tuesday. 

Designers were told their flags could not be offensive or divisive, could not include words or photos, and could not include images of people. 

Moore said he was impressed with the public's creativity, particularly for the effort in humorous entries that had little chance of success.

"It's quite an interesting glimpse into the New Zealand psyche," he said.

Overall, he believed the mountain of designs was generally quite restrained. "There were less swastikas and dick pics than I expected."

Last August, the Flag Consideration Panel released its top 40 designs, which the panel of 12 prominent New Zealanders said they chose from more than 10,000 designs submitted by the public.

The designs were whittled down to four last September, although the controversial Red Peak flag was later added as a fifth choice. Kyle Lockwood's silver fern on a blue and black background was chosen to go into the final referendum against the existing flag.

Preliminary results issued last week showed the existing flag had won. The final results will be announced on Wednesday evening.

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 - Stuff

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