New Zealand choose new flag and ditch Union Jack for a fern
New Zealanders have chosen a new flag design which ditches the Union Jack for a fern.
But the question now is whether enough people will rally behind it to oust the current flag.
The winning design from a postal ballot features a silver fern and red stars on a black and blue background. The new design will now go head to head against the current flag in a national vote in March.
The fern has become a national symbol and is worn by many sports teams, including the beloved All Blacks rugby squad.
New Zealanders had submitted more than 10,000 designs as they contemplated a change in their national symbol.
People submitted more than 10,000 potential new flag designs, including bizarre ones like a kiwi, the iconic native bird, shooting a green laser beam from its eye.
In the end it came down to two flags by Kyle Lockwood that featured the same design of a silver fern and four red stars, but with different background colours.
His black and blue flag just edged his red and darker blue flag 50.6% to 49.4% in a run-off vote. Even the designer found it a tough choice.
"I agonised over the two on my voting form," said Mr Lockwood. "For a couple of weeks, I'd walk past it and think, 'Which one?'. I like them both equally."
Mr Lockwood, 38, an architectural designer who was born in the capital Wellington and now lives in Australia, said he did not want to reveal which one gained his top vote.