Kiwi designer Kyle Lockwood is the man at the centre of New Zealand's flag change debate, taking out the top two spots in the first referendum.
Mr Lockwood, who normally lives in Melbourne, is in New Zealand to spend Christmas with his family and spoke to 3 News about the process of designing the winning flag.
His blue and black design received the most support after the preferential voting was tallied, amassing 50.58 percent of the public's backing with 670,790 votes.
The red and blue version was only marginally behind with just 15,324 votes between first and second place.
Mr Lockwood says the final design went through a number of evolutionary stages over the years.
"I think it's to do with wanting to see a symbol that represents New Zealand, and when you go overseas and see the flag you don't get it confused with another country's flag."
He says the result in the referendum was both pleasing and surprising.
Mr Lockwood is tight-lipped about which flags he voted for and in which order and believes the second binding referendum will be extremely close.
New Zealanders will now get to choose whether they prefer Mr Lockwood's design or the current New Zealand flag in the final referendum next March.