Starting with over 10,000 choices – New Zealand’s potential new flag has been whittled down to a choice of just four designs. Today, the flag consideration panel has finally surrendered its shortlist to the public vote.

The shortlist presents three fern designs - and a koru. The koru appears comedically misplaced, causing a social media storm that affectionately nicknamed the design “#hypnoflag”.


Designed by Andrew Fyfe, #hypnoflag comes with its own inspiring description.

Fyfe’s creative blurb for the design reads:

“As our flag unfurls, so too does its koru. The koru represents the fern frond, but is also reminiscent of a wave, a cloud and a ram’s horn. In Maori kowhaiwahi patterns, the koru represents new life, growth, strength and peace and for this reason has taken a special place in Aotearoa’s visual language”.

Silver Fern

Statistically, the Silver Fern (Black & White) by Alofi Kanter is predicted to win the flag race. In comparison to #hypnoflag, Kanter’s blurb for the design is slightly less edgy:

“The fern has been a distinctive symbol of New Zealand for the past 100 years. Strong and simple, it represents our uniqueness as Aotearoa New Zealand and the black and white colours show our ‘yin and yang’, with the softly curved spine of the frond binding us all together as a young, independent and proud nation.”

Is there a chance #Hypnoflag will win?

Of course, the Silver Fern appears to be the obvious option, but let us not forget the power of social media in elevating its own brand of humor to stupid heights. We all remember the Christmas that “Rage Against the Machine” went to number one – and it will be interesting to see whether @Hypnoflag’s parody twitter account could have any influence on the choice of an entire nation. 

Should @Hypnoflag’s campaign to fly Andrew Fyfe’s koru design at the top of the flagpole succeed, it must rank first in the public vote this November.

It might all be for nothing.

Unfortunately the nation’s chosen design will then be cast to a further public vote: whether to use the new design, which took 10,000 designs and an entire flag consideration panel - or, just keep the old one.

The process will seem fairly redundant if the nation chooses to keep its current flag. We cannot deny that designing the winning flag for an entire nation is a designer’ dream come true, whether or not it makes its way up the pole. The on-going flag selection process has also inspired a global conversation about the country itself, entangled with narrative and critique regarding a designer’s ability to represent a nation with a visual.

Remember to keep your eye on @Hypnoflag’s parody account on the run up to November and tweet us to let us know which of the four designs you prefer. Will New Zealand become a #SilverFern or a #Hypnoflag? Only time will tell.