(CNN)One year and $17.6 million later, New Zealanders have decided to keep their current flag.
New Zealand rejects changing flags after $17.6m referendum
The country's Electoral Commission announced the preliminary result on Thursday evening, after three weeks of voting.
More than 56.6% of voters chose to stick with the current standard -- a relic of British rule. While the Silver Fern challenger did get more votes than polls suggested, 43.2%, it was not enough to make history.
Voters chose the Silver Fern (black, white and blue) in a previous referendum late last year from a selection of five to go up against the existing standard.
Some 2.1 million voters took part in the referendum, a turnout of 67.3%, according to the Electoral Commission.