By Samantha Olley
A group of Christchurch flatmates have used more than 8000 bottle caps to recreate the New Zealand flag on their lounge wall, in protest against the upcoming referendum.
Thomas Wood added the last cap on Wednesday and says the giant piece of art has been in the works since April last year, kicking off around a month after the referendum was announced.
"I don't think the flag should be changed. I think $26 million could be spent in a lot of better places," he says.
The six boys say at first they "just wanted to get it done", and as the flag issue became more topical it was a "fortunate" motivation to crack open the bottles.
Wood, Jeff Krause, Zaimon Montserrat Sansom, Harry Paulin, Kris Bucher and Jordan Kelly estimate around $10,000 of their combined alcohol purchases have contributed to the flag made of blue Speights caps and red Tui caps.
Kelly says friends contributed the rest from parties and 21sts.
"In our group of friends if you drink at home, you have to keep the caps and bring them here," he says .
Landlord Margaret Yee approves of the flag and says "next year's tenants want to keep it".
If the flag eventually changes in the referendum, the flatties hope the next tenants will create a new one in the hallway or on another lounge wall.
However, it won't be easy, as the lid-art took a bit of time to master. The friends had to abandon their first flag attempt and take a few hundred caps down, before carefully planning and measuring a second go.
"There's five engineers in the flat, everything has got to be measured."
Samantha Olley is a student at the New Zealand Broadcasting School.