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The People Have Spoken: No New Flag For New Zealand

The "Red Peak" design, by Aaron Dustin, was inspired by traditional Maori weaving patterns and references a Maori creation myth, the designer says.
New Zealand government
The "Red Peak" design, by Aaron Dustin, was inspired by traditional Maori weaving patterns and references a Maori creation myth, the designer says.

The "Koru" design, by Andrew Fyfe, represents an unfurled silver fern frond "but is also reminiscent of a wave, a cloud, and a ram's horn," the designer writes.
New Zealand government
The "Koru" design, by Andrew Fyfe, represents an unfurled silver fern frond "but is also reminiscent of a wave, a cloud, and a ram's horn," the designer writes.

The "Silver Fern (Black and White)" design featured, like four of the other finalists, a silver fern. Designer Alofi Kanter described it as "strong and simple."
New Zealand government
The "Silver Fern (Black and White)" design featured, like four of the other finalists, a silver fern. Designer Alofi Kanter described it as "strong and simple."

The "Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue)" design is nearly identical to the winning alternative design, and is by the same designer, Kyle Lockwood. The red represents "heritage and sacrifices made," he says.
New Zealand government
The "Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue)" design is nearly identical to the winning alternative design, and is by the same designer, Kyle Lockwood. The red represents "heritage and sacrifices made," he says.

The final proposed alternative, "Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue)."
New Zealand government
The final proposed alternative, "Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue)."

"Pride of New Zealand," by Theo Her.
New Zealand government
"Pride of New Zealand," by Theo Her.

"NZ One," by Travis Cunningham.
New Zealand Government
"NZ One," by Travis Cunningham.

"Huihui/Together," by Sven Baker.
New Zealand Government
"Huihui/Together," by Sven Baker.

"Regional Pillars Fern Leaf," by Sam Stradwick
New Zealand Government
"Regional Pillars Fern Leaf," by Sam Stradwick

"Fire the Lazar!" by James Gray.
New Zealand Government
"Fire the Lazar!" by James Gray.

The current New Zealand flag (left) hangs next to the alternative flag on a building site in Wellington on March 4. New Zealanders began voting March 3 on whether to adopt a new flag.
Marty Melville AFP/Getty Images
The current New Zealand flag (left) hangs next to the alternative flag on a building site in Wellington on March 4. New Zealanders began voting March 3 on whether to adopt a new flag.

More than 2 million New Zealanders voted to keep the Union Jack on their national flag, ending a 10-month process and squashing a move Prime Minister John Key said would make it easier to distinguish from Australia's flag and bolster national pride.

The current flag has been the national symbol for 114 years, according to The Associated Press. The rejected design, which featured a silver fern, was selected from more than 10,000 submissions from the public.

Some people called a flag on the play over the estimated price tag: NZ$26 million, which is about $17 million in U.S. currency.

"Naturally I'm a little bit disappointed the flag didn't change tonight," Key told reporters on Thursday. But he accepted the decision, tweeting:

And, strangely, American comedian and actor Andy Richter seemed to follow the whole thing really closely, even offering up his flag choice:

The preliminary voting result was announced on Thursday, and final numbers are expected next week.

As a reminder, here's a taste of the flags New Zealand could have had — including the front-runners and some very, very long shots.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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