The New Zealand government has shortlisted 40 potential designs for the country's new flag after inviting citizens to put forward their ideas.
The panel, comprised of cultural, art and design experts, judged 10,292 entries to the Flag Consideration Project, which for the first time let New Zealanders have a say in the design of nation's emblem.
The competition, which was launched in May, has caused a stir of controversy over costs estimated at $17m.
"A great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory," the panel said in an open letter published today (10 August). "A flag should carry sufficient dignity to be appropriate for all situations in which New Zealanders might be represented. It should speak to all Kiwis. Our hope is that New Zealanders will see themselves reflected in these flags’ symbols, colour and stories".
The selected designs feature national symbols such as the silver fern and spiral Koru shape, with the panel eschewing a number of joke designs which included a bird shooting lasers from its eyes.
In September, four designs will be put forward for the country to rank and express their preferences in the first binding referendum later this year.