Flag designer's nana prefers the red and blue
The designer of the winning alternative flag, Kyle Lockwood, says he feels patriotic when he thinks his design could fly at next year's Rio Olympics.
But as his nana told 3 News, it wasn't her first choice in the referendum.
Mr Lockwood is an architectural designer who normally lives in Melbourne. He started drawing his winning flag design 15 years ago.
"I wanted to design something that includes all New Zealanders and I felt that the silver fern with its multiple points is representing multicultural New Zealand," says Mr Lockwood.
He also wanted to incorporate some of our heritage, so included the Southern Cross with the red stars.
Mr Lockwood describes the referendum result as pleasing and surprising, but wouldn't disclose which design he voted for.
"I'm not going to say which one I ranked because I'm an old fashioned guy and I don't like to tell people what I voted."
He wanted a symbol that doesn't get confused with any other nation – "something that's instantly recognisable as New Zealand".
"That's my main interest, to portray New Zealand to the world."
He says the fern has always been a good luck symbol and it's been used in times of war.
"When our soldiers who fought for our country didn't return, they were buried under a silver fern. There's more to it than just sport."
But the blue and black is not the one his nana voted for.
"I like the red," she says. "I've been flying the red for the last couple of years or so."
But she's very proud of her grandson.
"I just feel all choked up when I think about it because so many people have voted for his designs."
Mr Lockwood's design is the Prime Minister's favourite, but Mr Lockwood's never lobbied him or even met him.
He expects the vote in March to be a close race.
"It would be unbelievable to have our own flag flying at Rio 2016," he says. "I feel patriotic just talking about it."
Even if it doesn't win, Mr Lockwood says the design will still be part of our history.