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New Zealand Is Crowdsourcing Its New Flag And The Rejected Designs Are Amazing

Definitive proof that all countries should ask the public to create their flags.

Posted on August 11, 2015, at 11:54 a.m. ET

New Zealand is on the hunt for a new flag. The government has asked the public to get involved and on Monday released the top 40 designs submitted by New Zealanders.

Dave Sauvage / Via

The country's prime minister, John Key, has said that a new flag is one of his top priorities.

John Oliver has already had some ~ideas~ about the government's proposed flags — and has also come up with some of his own.


But even he wasn't prepared for the BREATHTAKING MAJESTY of some of the designs that have been submitted — and, sadly, rejected by the government. Well over 10,000 entries in total were submitted. Like this one, titled "Four Seasons, One Country."

Liam Gerrard / Via

Here are some of the best of the flags that, in a better universe, would be flying proudly over Wellington. Spoiler: Most of them involve kiwis.

This flag combines the majesty of the British lion with the grace of the New Zealand kiwi bird, with a splash of Maori culture thrown in to really tie the whole thing together.

Zoe Smith / Via

There are so many jokes that can be made about this one — literally, so many — but really you just kinda have to appreciate the craftsmanship of this flying kiwi flag.

James Dare / Via

"We are a juvenile nation that is beginning to find its wings. This flag represents the evolution of a kiwi from now into the future," the designer writes. We are pretty sure that's not how evolution works, but good effort.

The obsession with the national bird has produced the rarest of flags.

David Astil / Via

"Te Pepe Tamariki, Te Papa Aotearoa."

The annual Kiwi Pride Parade is a big hit in Wellington, from what I hear.

Katie Howlett / Via

This is the most badass kiwi in the history of ever. If any New Zealand sports teams are looking for a new logo, they have found it.

Dene Andre / Via


James Gray / Via

Because lasers.

Amazingly enough, some submissions actually had nothing to do with the kiwi. Instead, some focused on the fact that all of Peter Jackson's films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series were filmed in New Zealand.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

Predrag Stojadinovic / Via

...Or it's a shocked ghost. One of the two.

Nice try, but that is not a native tree, as the creator suggests. That is the White Tree of Gondor. Nerd.

Arvedui Eärnil / Via

Others went a political route — sometimes in ways that left us confused and wary.

It's hard to be certain, but this one — called "Future Alliance" — appears to be some sort of subtle geopolitical commentary.

Simon Greig / Via

We are hoping very, very strongly that this proposed flag for a New British Empire was a joke. Because the comment left by its designer is insanely scary otherwise.

Sir Alfred Harkness / Via

"We need to fulfill the vision of Cecil Rhodes and create a 1000 year Anglo-Saxon Imperium. The British Empire was just the spreading for the seed, the greatest stage is yet to come."


And some... were pictures on rectangles, and that's about the best that can be said about them.

Vexillology is the study of flags. And some student of the craft would be able to write a PhD dissertation about this design, I'm sure.

Connor Dunlop / Via

Same with this one, which is literally titled "Deranged cat raking its garden." It is so outside of the box that it's hard to see how it didn't win or at least make the long list.

Jeong Hyuk Fidan / Via

This is a peaceful whale. What more could you possibly want in a flag, Prime Minister Key? WHAT, I ASK?!

Patrick Gledhill / Via

"Sun, beach, cricket, ice cream = perfect day." With the addition of the knitting sheep with six legs, we completely agree.

Christina Kaldelis / Via

This one, while simple, is actually kind of sweet once you hear the idea behind the design.

Rachel Armstrong / Via
New Zealand leads the world in acts that come from the heart. Other countries may have more land or more people or more money but New Zealand's small population allows for people's consciousnesses to win out over the idea that a law or tradition is "impossible to change"'. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. Our social welfare system puts some wealthier countries to shame. Our strong protection of our beloved land has kept New Zealand beautiful and nuclear free. I think Heart of Gold would make a good design for a flag because it showcases our most important cultural attribute, our hearts of gold. While people might take different political stances, all New Zealanders have one thing in common the goal to make New Zealanders as happy as possible. I think this common motivation is worth celebrating. This goal is what all New Zealanders have in common so it makes sense for our flag to remind us of this and unify us. The blue stripe at the top represents our sky (rangi) and the green stripe beneath it represents our land (whenua).

But really, this Maori-inspired flag is kind of fantastic and people should call up the government to have them reconsider this one.

D&D NZpol thread / Via

"Red is the colour of the earth which sustains us, and yellow the sun in the sky. The central hei-tiki is an abstract representation of us, the people of New Zealand. Crossed koru and patu in the top left corner respectively represent agriculture and the environment, and our defence and unique cultural history."

  1. Which of these rejected designs would you want to be New Zealand's new flag?

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Which of these rejected designs would you want to be New Zealand's new flag?
    vote votes
    "Four Seasons, One Country"
    vote votes
    The Flying Kiwi
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    The Rarest of Flags
    vote votes
    Kiwi Pride
    vote votes
    The Hobbit Hole
    vote votes
    The White Tree of Gondor
    vote votes
    "Deranged Cat"
    vote votes
    Peace Whale
    vote votes
    Heart of Gold
    vote votes
    vote votes
    These are all terrible. Please stop.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.