WELLINGTON, New Zealand, A New Zealand referendum on a possible new national flag chose a design featuring a silver fern along with stars from the current flag.
Preliminary results indicated a black and blue flag with a silver fern, a New Zealand emblem, has received 50.53 percent of the votes. Designed by architect Kyle Lockwood, it edged out another Lockwood design, identical except for the colors, which received 49.47 percent.
The chosen flag also includes four red stars, which denote the constellation Crux Australis and comprise part of the design of the current flag, which some, including Prime Minister John Key, say too strongly resembles Australia’s flag. It also features the Union Jack, the flag of Britain, although New Zealand, a former British colony, has been independent since 1947.
The new design will compete with the current flag in a second referendum in March to decide if the existing flag, or a new one, will fly over New Zealand.
By Ed Adamczyk