International vote on NZ flag throws up surprising winner

Last updated 14:03 02/10/2015
Hagen Hopkins

New Zealand flags fly in front of The Beehive. Which design would you choose to replace it?

Final five New Zealand flags: Which is your favourite?

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Which is your favourite flag?

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Earlier this year, New Zealand was left surprised by a sudden government initiative, and, while it couldn't have been known at the time, it has left New Zealand divided.

Of course I am talking about the announcement of a new New Zealand flag and, most surprisingly, one created by everyday individuals.

Early on, the significant $26 million cost was at the forefront of the division. However, as time has passed the New Zealand people seem to have realised that a new flag is now inevitable.

After more than 10,000 submissions were screened, we were left with 40 possibilities. The  final four were then chosen, although after great public outcry this was recently changed to five, to include the now infamous Red Peak flag.

Full coverage of the flag debate  
What the world thinks of our flag designs  
Flag debate a cultural minefield

I'm a Kiwi English teacher living in a city in the northeast of Brazil called Campina Grande, which has about the same population and size as Christchurch.

Recently, the language school in which I teach, Yazigi Campina Grande, had an international week, dedicated to expanding the students' knowledge, interest and understanding of some of the most popular countries in the world.

I was fortunate enough to have New Zealand selected for my groups and that gave me an idea - let the students vote for their favourite flags.  

For the duration of the international week, students, parents and caregivers came and went and 148  votes were cast for the 40 flags (the students were not made aware that the final five had been chosen).

After tallying the results I can say without a doubt they are nothing like I expected.

Below are the results from the top seven flags.

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And finally, in first place, with an unbelievable 41.2 per cent of the votes...

Obviously these results are completely contradictory to the selection made by the flag consideration panel, with the exception of the black and white silver fern flag. One can only wonder how these results would have been had the voters been New Zealanders.

Still, it raises an interesting thought. How will the new flag be perceived internationally when the final vote is made?

For those curious about how the other official flag finalists fared, here are the rather dismal results:

Which is your favourite of the final five flag designs? Or would you prefer to keep the current flag as it is?

Share your thoughts on the flag debate by submitting a reader report to our assignment here, or email


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