New Zealand has long been a colony of Great Britain and acquired its own symbols of state power relatively recently.
This is what the modern flag of New Zealand looks like:
- History of the flag
- Flag colors
- Meaning of colors and symbols of the flag
- Other Flags
- Banner of the Navy.
- Trade flag
- The flag of the Queen of New Zealand
- The flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand
- Aft flag for state ships
- Air Force flag
- The national flag of Maori, Tino-Rangatiratanga
- Police flag
- Flag of yacht clubs
- Civil aviation flag
- The difference between the flags of Australia and New Zealand
- Interesting facts about the flag
- General information about New Zealand
- Map of New Zealand
History of the flag
The Maori tribes who inhabited the territory of New Zealand did not have flags for a long time. The need for a flag arose after a merchant ship with tribal leaders on board was detained in Australian state waters in the 19th century. The ship had no flag, which was a gross violation of British law. Any ship was required to fly a banner to indicate its nationality.
Following this incident, 25 tribal chiefs met in 1834 at the village of Waitangi to approve the nation’s flag. Several options were presented for consideration. The chiefs agreed on a white banner with a red St. George’s cross depicted in the center. At the top left was another red cross with four stars on a blue background.
This flag was used until 1840. It is now hoisted every year at Waitang on the day the treaty of status was signed between Maori and Great Britain.
Under the agreement of 1840, Great Britain was given the right to govern all of New Zealand. In return, the Crown guaranteed the tribes the status of British subjects and promised protection. The first governor of the colony was William Gobson, who signed the treaty on behalf of England. Forty tribal chiefs signed the treaty on behalf of the natives.
From that moment the Union Jack, the banner of Great Britain, began to develop over the country.
Until 1869 New Zealand ships sailed under the flag of England with the letters NZ assigned to them. Only by this inscription it was possible to distinguish the ship’s belonging.
Governor George Bowin asked British naval officials to accept the New Zealand maritime flag. Lieutenant Albert Markham handed the governor a model of the flag. On a blue background were the Union Jack and the stars of the Southern Cross constellation. This flag was first used as a maritime flag, but in 1902 it was adopted by government decree as the official national flag of New Zealand.
It is a rectangle of deep blue color. The proportions of width and length are 1:2.
At the staff, in the upper quarter is a Union Jack.
On the right side of the rectangle are 4 five-pointed stars in red with a white border. The stars are at the ends of two imaginary axes of the cross. The centers of the two stars on the long vertical axis of the cross are equidistant from the Union Jack and the right edge of the flag. And equidistant from the lower and upper edges.
The lower rays of the left star stand on an imaginary line running along the lower edge of the Union Jack to the right side of the flag. The right star is located just above this line, on a line forming an angle of 82 degrees with the vertical.
All four stars are in a vertical position. They have different sizes. The largest is the lower star on the vertical axis. Its size (the segment that connects the end points of the horizontal red rays) is about 1/17 of the flag’s length. The upper and left stars, have the same size, being 1/20 of the length of the cloth. The right one is the smallest, its size is 1/24 of the flag’s length.
- blue corresponds to 280C in the Pantone system;
- red is 186C according to Pantone;
Meaning of colors and symbols of the flag
The field of blue symbolizes the sea waters washing New Zealand’s shores on all sides, as well as the endless clear sky.
The British flag or “Union Jack,” located in the upper left quarter of the cloth, speaks of the connection to Great Britain.
The five-pointed stars, 4 in red with a white border, are the brightest of the Southern Cross constellation. They indicate the geographical location of the country.
Banner of the Navy.
It is a white rectangle, on which, as on the national flag, there is a Union Jack in the left quarter, at the staff, and four red stars of the Southern Cross in the right part. The stars have no edging. The proportions of the cloth are 1:2.
It differs from the state one in the color of the field and stars. The white stars without a border are on a red background. The ratio of width to length, like the national symbol, is 1:2.
The flag of the Queen of New Zealand
The flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand
Aft flag for state ships
Air Force flag
The national flag of Maori, Tino-Rangatiratanga
Flag of yacht clubs
Civil aviation flag
The difference between the flags of Australia and New Zealand
The national symbols of New Zealand and neighboring Australia are similar. The Australian flag as an official state symbol was approved much later, only in 1954. Unlike the New Zealand flag it has not 4, but 5 stars of the Southern Cross. They are white in color. Of these five stars, four are seven-pointed, and one is five-pointed.
In addition, directly below the British flag, in the middle of the lower left quarter, there is another white star called the Commonwealth Star. It has seven rays and symbolizes the six original states, and the seventh end represents the territories as well as the future states of Australia.
The similarity of the flags of the two countries can be explained by the fact that after the expedition of James Cook to their shores came the era of colonial subjugation of Great Britain. Both countries at that time had banners based on the British naval flag.
In 2018, the acting head of the New Zealand government said in a television interview that Australia’s national symbol was plagiarized. Australians have illegally used the design and symbols of the New Zealand flag. He further opined that Australia should change its flag, it would be fair. The Australian side did not comment on the interview in any way.
Interesting facts about the flag
Flag confusion sometimes occurs at international events.
- For example, in Greece in 2015, young New Zealand athletes were welcomed by raising an early version of the Australian flag at the World Water Polo Championships.
- An unpleasant curiosity happened on Australian television in 2018. A report on Independence Day used a picture of the New Zealand flag. Journalists in New Zealand did not get past it and snidely pointed out the gross gaffe on an important day for the country.
In New Zealand itself there have been discussions on changing the national flag from the 1970s to the present day.
There have been proposals for the image of a silver fern on a blue, blue-black, black and blue-red background. The fern, according to the creators’ idea, should symbolize the growth of the nation.
In 2016, a referendum was held to adopt the new flag, which was a silver fern on a black and blue background. The right side retained the image of the four stars of the Southern Cross. However, more than half of those who voted were in favor of keeping the current flag unchanged. The project was rejected.
General information about New Zealand
|Official language||English, Maori,
New Zealand Sign Language
|Territory||268 680 km²|
|Population||4 848 477 people|
|Currency||New Zealand dollar (NZD, Code 554)|