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New Zealand Flag

New Zealand Flag

Along with the national anthem, the flag of New Zealand is an important symbol of national identity.

Except for Kiwis and Australians, many people may mistake the New Zealand flag for that of Australia with which it has some similarities.

New Zealand flag (top) and Australian flag (bottom) - similar but different.
New Zealand flag (above) & Australian flag (below)

History

The flag of New Zealand was the Union Jack of the United Kingdom until 1902. Before that from 1834 until 1840, the Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand was the national flag. The Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand is still flown on Waitangi Day - the National Day of New Zealand on 6 February.

In 2016 New Zealanders voted on whether to change the current flag to another design - the Silver Fern - which had been selected by referendum from five designs a year earlier. Just under 57% of New Zealanders voted in a second referendum to retain the current flag, which was something of a surprise at the time.

Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand
Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand

Design

The design of the New Zealand flag includes the Union Jack in the top left quadrant. The background is the royal blue from the ensign of the Blue Squadron of the Royal Navy.

The four red and white stars of the Southern Cross represent the country's location in the South Pacific.

Tino Rangatiratanga
Tino Rangatiratanga

Tino Rangatiratanga

The Tino Rangatiratanga is a phrase usually translated as "absolute sovereignty" from the Māori version of the Treaty of Waitangi (1840). Designed in 1990 the flag is accepted as a national flag for all Māori.

Other Flags

Various bodies of the state have their own flags such as the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), the New Zealand Police, and the Customs Service.

It is against the law in New Zealand to destroy the flag with the intent of dishonouring it.

Books on New Zealand

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