|Use|| National flag and state ensign |
|Adopted||24 March 1902|
In use since 1869
|Design||A Blue Ensign with the Southern Cross of four red five-pointed stars centred within four white five-pointed stars making eight stars in total with the colours dualing each other on the outer half of the flag.|
|Designed by||Albert Hastings Markham|
The flag of New Zealand (Māori : Te haki o Aotearoa ), also known as the New Zealand Ensign, is based on the British maritime Blue Ensign –a blue field with the Union Jack in the canton or upper hoist corner –augmented or defaced with four red stars centred within four white stars, representing the Southern Cross constellation.
New Zealand's first flag, the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, was adopted in 1834, six years before New Zealand's separation from New South Wales and creation as a separate colony following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Chosen by an assembly of Māori chiefs at Waitangi in 1834, the flag was of a St George's Cross with another cross in the canton containing four stars on a blue field. After the formation of the colony in 1840, British ensigns began to be used. The current flag was designed and adopted for use on the colony's ships in 1869, was quickly adopted as New Zealand's national flag, and given statutory recognition in 1902.
For several decades there has been debate about changing the flag.In 2016, a two-stage binding referendum on a flag change took place with voting on the second final stage closing on 24 March. In this referendum, the country voted to keep the existing flag by 57% to 43%.
The flag of New Zealand uses two prominent symbols:
In its original usage as the flag of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Union Jack combined three heraldic crosses which represent the countries of the United Kingdom (as constituted in 1801):
The Union Jack reflects New Zealand's origins as a British colony.
The Southern Cross constellation is one of the striking features of the Southern Hemisphere sky, and has been used to represent New Zealand, among other Southern Hemisphere colonies, since the early days of European settlement.Additionally, in Māori mythology the Southern Cross is identified as Māhutonga, an aperture in Te Ikaroa (the Milky Way) through which storm winds escaped.
The flag should be rectangular in shape and its length should be two times its width, translating into an aspect ratio of 1:2.It has a royal blue background with a Union Jack in the canton, and four five-pointed red stars centred within four five-pointed white stars on the fly (outer or right-hand side). The exact colours are specified as Pantone 186 C (red), Pantone 280 C (blue), and white. According to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the government department responsible for the flag, the royal blue background is "reminiscent of the blue sea and sky surrounding us", and the stars "signify [New Zealand's] place in the South Pacific Ocean".
The notice that appeared in the New Zealand Gazette on 27 June 1902 gave a technical description of the stars and their positions on the New Zealand Ensign:
"The centres of the stars forming the long limb of the cross shall be on a vertical line on the fly, midway between the Union Jack and the outer edge of the fly, and equidistant from its upper and lower edges; and the distance apart of the centres of the stars shall be equal to thirty-six sixtieths the hoist of the ensign.
The centres of the stars forming the short limb of the cross shall be on a line intersecting the vertical limb at an angle of 82 therewith, and rising from near the lower fly corner of the Union Jack towards the upper fly corner of the ensign, its point of intersection with the vertical line being distant from the centre of the uppermost star of the cross twelve-sixtieths of the hoist of the ensign.
The distance of the centre of the star nearest the outer edge of the fly from the point of intersection shall be equal to twelve-sixtieths of the hoist of the ensign, and the distance of the centre of the star nearest the Union Jack from the point of intersection shall be equal to fourteen-sixtieths of the hoist of the ensign.
The star nearest the fly edge of the ensign shall measure five-sixtieths, the star at the top of the cross and that nearest to the Union Jack shall each measure six-sixtieths, and the star at the bottom of the cross shall measure seven-sixtieths of the hoist of the ensign across their respective red points, and the width of the white borders to the several stars shall in all cases be equal to one one-hundred-and-twentieth of the hoist of the ensign."
The Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 governs the usage of the national flag and all other official flags.This Act, like most other laws, can be amended or repealed by a simple majority in Parliament. Section 5(2) of the Act declares the flag to be "the symbol of the Realm, Government, and people of New Zealand". Section 11(1) outlines two offences: altering the flag without lawful authority, and using, displaying, damaging or destroying the flag in or within view of a public place with the intention of dishonouring it.
The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage has authority to prescribe when and how the flag should be flown and what the standard sizes, dimensions, proportions and colours should be.In its advisory role, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has issued guidelines to assist persons in their use of the flag. No permission is needed to fly the flag, and it may be flown on every day of the year—government and public buildings with flagpoles are especially encouraged to fly the flag during working hours. However, it should never be flown in a dilapidated condition.
Unlike some other countries there is no single official "Flag Day" in New Zealand, and no pledge of allegiance to the flag.Flag flying may be encouraged on certain commemorative days, at the discretion of the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.
The flag can only be used as a vehicle flag by certain high-ranking officeholders, including: the Prime Minister and other ministers; ambassadors and high commissioners (when overseas); and the Chief of Defence Force. In such cases, no distinguishing defacement or fringing of the flag is used.
The flag is flown at half-mast in New Zealand—always at the discretion of the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage—to indicate a period of mourning. Notable occasions on which the flag was half-masted include: the death of former prime minister David Lange, and the death and state funeral of mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary.When the flag is flown at half-mast, it should be lowered to a position recognisably at half-mast to avoid the appearance of a flag which has accidentally fallen away from the top of the flagpole; the flag should be at least its own height from the top of the flagpole.
The need for a flag of New Zealand first became clear in 1830 when the trading ship Sir George Murray, built in the Hokianga, was seized by Customs officials in the port of Sydney. The ship had been sailing without a flag, a violation of British navigation laws. New Zealand was not a colony at the time and had no flag. Among the passengers on the ship were two high-ranking Māori chiefs, believed to be Patuone and Taonui. The ship's detention was reported as arousing indignation among the Māori population. Unless a flag was selected, ships could continue to be seized.
The first flag of New Zealand was adopted 9 (or 20) March 1834 by a vote made by the United Tribes of New Zealand, a meeting of Māori chiefs convened at Waitangi by British resident James Busby. The United Tribes later made the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand at Waitangi in 1835. Three flags were proposed, all designed by the missionary Henry Williams, who was to play a major role in the translation of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The chiefs rejected two other proposals which included the Union Jack, in favour of a modified St George's Cross or the White Ensign, which was the flag used by Henry Williams on the Church Missionary Society ships.This flag became known as the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand and was officially gazetted in New South Wales in August 1835, with a general description not mentioning fimbriation or the number of points on the stars.
The United Tribes' flag is still flown on the flag pole at Waitangi, and can be seen on Waitangi Day.
After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Union Jack was used, although the former United Tribes flag was still used by a number of ships from New Zealand and in many cases on land. The New Zealand Company settlement at Wellington, for example, continued to use the United Tribes flag until Governor William Hobson sent a small armed force to Wellington in May 1840 (following his declaration of British sovereignty).
The Union Jack was described as the "superior flag", to be flown above the New Zealand flag prior to 1965.
During the Invasion of the Waikato (July 1863 – April 1864) period of the New Zealand Wars the Imperial British forces realised they needed access to colonial ships to fight Māori. The Colonial government acquired vessels which were staffed by Royal Navy officers but owned by the colonial government. The vessels were under local and not Admiralty control. An armed ship, Victoria, owned by the Colony of Victoria transported reinforcements to New Zealand for the campaign and took part in bombardments of Māori. The British government was concerned about its colonies developing their own navies, not under the control of the Royal Navy's Admiralty.
This led to the British parliament passing the Colonial Naval Defence Act 1865,which allowed the colonial governments to own ships, including for military purposes, but they would have to be under the Royal Navy's command. In 1866 the British Admiralty advised colonies that if they possessed vessels governed by the Act, they must fly the Royal Navy Blue Ensign but that they must also include on the flag the seal or badge of the colony. New Zealand did not have a colonial badge, or indeed a coat of arms of its own at this stage, and so in 1867 the letters "NZ" were simply added to the blue ensign, following a decree by Governor George Grey on 15 January 1867.
In 1869 the then First Lieutenant of the Royal Navy vessel Blanche, Albert Hastings Markham, submitted a design to Sir George Bowen, the Governor of New Zealand, for a national ensign for New Zealand. This followed a request by Bowen to Markham to come up with a new flag design, following a request to Bowen from the Colonial Office.His proposal, incorporating the Southern Cross, was approved on 23 October 1869. It was initially to be used only on government ships.
To end confusion between various designs of the flag, New Zealand's Liberal Government passed the New Zealand Ensign Act 1901, which was approved by King Edward VII on 24 March 1902.
One of the first recorded accounts of the New Zealand Blue Ensign flag being flown in battle was at Quinn's Post, Gallipoli, in 1915. It was not, however, flown officially. The flag was brought back to New Zealand by Private John Taylor, Canterbury Battalion.The first time the flag of New Zealand was flown in a naval battle and the first time officially in any battle, was from HMS Achilles during the Battle of the River Plate in 1939.
With the Union Jack in its upper left-hand quarter, the flag still proclaims New Zealand's origins as a British colony. Some New Zealanders believe there should be a new flag which better reflects the country's independence,while others argue that the design represents New Zealand's strong past and present ties to the United Kingdom and its history as a part of the British Empire. Debate about changing the flag has often arisen in connection with the issue of republicanism in New Zealand. The Southern Cross constellation is depicted on the flags of other former British colonies, such as the flag of Australia—although in Australia's case there are six all-white stars, while New Zealand's four stars have red centres. The Australian and New Zealand flags are often mistaken for each other, and this confusion has been cited as a reason for adopting a different design.
Debate on keeping or changing the New Zealand flag started before May 1973, when a remit to change the flag was voted down by the Labour Party at their national conference.In November 1979 Minister of Internal Affairs Allan Highet suggested that the design of the flag should be changed, and sought an artist to design a new flag with a silver fern on the fly, but the proposal attracted little support.
In March 1994 Prime Minister Jim Bolger made statements supporting a move towards a republic. [ citation needed ]Christian Democrat MP Graeme Lee introduced a Flags, Anthems, Emblems, and Names Protection Amendment Bill. If passed, the Bill would have entrenched the Act that governs the flag and added New Zealand's anthems, requiring a majority of 65 percent of votes in Parliament before any future legislation could change the flag. The Bill passed its first reading but was defeated at its second reading, 26 votes to 37.
In 1998 Prime Minister Jenny Shipley backed Cultural Affairs Minister Marie Hasler's call for the flag to be changed. Shipley, along with the New Zealand Tourism Board, backed the quasi-national silver fern flag—using a silver fern on a black background, along the lines of the Canadian Maple Leaf flag—as a possible alternative flag.
On 5 August 2010 Labour list MP Charles Chauvel introduced a member's bill for a consultative commission followed by a referendum on the New Zealand flag.
On 11 March 2014, Prime Minister John Key announced in a speech his intention to hold a referendum, during the next parliamentary term, on adopting a new flag.Following National's re-election the details of the two referendums were announced. The first referendum was set for November 2015 allowing voters to decide on a preferred design from five choices. The second referendum would see the preferred design voted on against the current flag in March 2016.
Had the flag changed, the current flag (described as the "1902 flag") of New Zealand would have been "recognised as a flag of historical significance", and its continued use would have been permittedOfficial documents depicting the current flag would have been replaced only through ordinary means, e.g. an existing driving licence would have remained valid until its renewal date.
On 11 December 2015, preliminary results were announced for the first referendum. The blue and black design, with a silver fern and red stars, was the winning flag.This flag design did not win the second referendum; according to preliminary results announced on 24 March 2016, the existing 1902 flag was chosen to remain the New Zealand flag. 56.7% were in favour of retaining the flag, with a voter turnout of 67.3%. 43.3% were in favour of changing the flag to the Lockwood design.
A red version of the flag, officially called the Red Ensign and nicknamed the "red duster",was adopted in 1903 to be flown on non-government ships. It was flown on New Zealand merchant ships during both world wars.
The Red Ensign has sometimes been flown incorrectly on land in the belief that it is the national flag.The Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 does allow for the Red Ensign to be used on land on occasions of Māori significance, continuing the long preference of Māori for the use of red in flags.
The flag commonly known as the tino rangatiratanga (Māori sovereignty) flag was designed in 1989. It has been acknowledged as a national flag for the Māori.
There are two official flags which, when flown in the appropriate circumstance, take precedence over the national flag of New Zealand:
In addition, the New Zealand Police, New Zealand Fire Service, New Zealand Customs Service, and the services of the New Zealand Defence Force have their own flags. A few local authorities have commissioned their own flags, such as Otago.
The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The flag also has official status in Canada, by parliamentary resolution, where it is known as the Royal Union Flag. Additionally, it is used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas territories. The Union Flag also appears in the canton of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or dominions, as well as the state flag of Hawaii. The claim that the term Union Jack properly refers only to naval usage has been disputed, following historical investigations by the Flag Institute in 2013.
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs (rangatira) from the North Island of New Zealand. It has become a document of central importance to the history, to the political constitution of the state, and to the national mythos of New Zealand, and has played a major role in framing the political relations between New Zealand's government and the Māori population, especially from the late-20th century.
An ensign is the national flag flown on a vessel to indicate nationality. The ensign is the largest flag, generally flown at the stern (rear) of the ship while in port. The naval ensign, used on warships, may be different from the civil ensign or the yacht ensign. Large versions of naval ensigns called battle ensigns are used when a warship goes into battle. The ensign differs from the jack, which is flown from a jackstaff at the bow of a vessel.
Tino rangatiratanga is a Māori language term that is often translated as 'absolute sovereignty’. It appears in the Māori version of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed by the British Crown and Māori chiefs (rangatira) in 1840. It has become one of the most contentious phrases in retrospective analyses of the Treaty, amid debate surrounding the obligations agreed to by each signatory. The phrase features in current historical and political discourse on race relations in New Zealand, and is widely used by Māori advocacy groups. A flag based on tino rangatiratanga was designed in 1990, and has become accepted as a national flag for Māori groups across New Zealand.
The Red Ensign or "Red Duster" is the civil ensign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is one of the British ensigns, and it is used either plain or defaced with a badge or other emblem, mostly in the right half.
In British maritime law and custom, an ensign is the identifying flag flown to designate a British ship, either military or civilian. Such flags display the United Kingdom Union Flag in the canton, with either a red, white or blue field, dependent on whether the vessel is civilian, naval, or in a special category. These are known as the red, white, and blue ensigns respectively.
Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation. The first Waitangi Day was not celebrated until 1934, and it was made a national public holiday in 1974.
The Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand, signed by a number of Māori chiefs in 1835, proclaimed the sovereign independence of New Zealand prior to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
The White Ensign, at one time called the St George's Ensign due to the simultaneous existence of a cross-less version of the flag, is an ensign flown on British Royal Navy ships and shore establishments. It consists of a red St George's Cross on a white field with the Union Flag in the upper canton.
Ngāti Whātua is a Māori iwi (tribe) of the lower Northland Peninsula of New Zealand's North Island. It comprises a confederation of four hapū (subtribes) interconnected both by ancestry and by association over time: Te Uri-o-Hau, Te Roroa, Te Taoū, and Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei. The four hapū can act together or separately as independent tribes.
The coat of arms of New Zealand is the heraldic symbol representing the South Pacific island country of New Zealand. Its design reflects New Zealand's history as a bicultural nation, with a European female figure on one side and a Māori rangatira (chief) on the other. The symbols on the central shield represent New Zealand's trade, agriculture and industry, and a Crown represents New Zealand's status as a constitutional monarchy.
The flag of the governor-general of New Zealand is an official flag of New Zealand and is flown continuously on buildings and other locations when a governor-general is present. The flag in its present form was adopted in 2008 and is a blue field with the shield of the New Zealand coat of arms royally crowned. The official heraldic description is "A flag of a blue field thereon the Arms of New Zealand ensigned by the Royal Crown all proper".
The United Tribes of New Zealand was a confederation of Māori tribes based in the north of the North Island.
The Māori protest movement is a broad indigenous-rights movement in New Zealand. While this movement has existed since Europeans first colonised New Zealand, its modern form emerged in the early 1970s and has focused on issues such as the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori land rights, the Māori language and culture, and racism. It has generally been allied with the left wing although it differs from the mainstream left in a number of ways. Most members of the movement have been Māori but it has attracted some support from pākehā (non-Māori) New Zealanders and internationally, particularly from other indigenous peoples. Notable successes of the movement include establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal, the return of some Māori land, and the Māori language being made an official language of New Zealand. The movement is part of a broader Māori Renaissance.
New Zealand has a history of debate about whether the national flag should be changed. For several decades, alternative designs have been proposed, with varying degrees of support. There is no consensus among proponents of changing the flag as to which design should replace the flag. Unlike in Australia, the flag debate in New Zealand is occurring independently of debate about becoming a republic. Common criticisms of the current design of the New Zealand flag are its similarity to the Australian flag and the inappropriateness of retaining the Union Jack in the design. A series of polls conducted since the 1970s have shown that a majority of New Zealanders prefer the current flag.
The Colony of New Zealand was a British colony that existed in New Zealand from 1841 to 1907, created as a Crown colony. The power of the British Government was vested in the governor of New Zealand, but the colony was granted self-government in 1852. The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 was passed and the first parliament was elected in 1853; the first responsible government was formed in 1856. The Colony of New Zealand had three capitals: Old Russell (1841), Auckland (1841–1865), and Wellington. In 1907, the colony became the Dominion of New Zealand with a more explicit recognition of self-government within the British Empire.
National colours of New Zealand orders include black, white or silver, and red ochre.
Two New Zealand flag referendums were held by the New Zealand Government in November/December 2015 and March 2016 and resulted in the retention of the current flag of New Zealand.
The New Zealand White Ensign is a naval ensign used by ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) from 1968. Based on the Royal Navy's White Ensign, it features the Southern Cross from the New Zealand national flag in place of the Saint George's Cross. One of the earliest flags associated with the country, that used by the United Tribes of New Zealand, was a white ensign. This was replaced by the Union Flag when New Zealand became a British colony. A blue ensign with the Southern Cross was introduced for ships of the colonial government in 1867 and this soon became a de facto national flag. Ships in New Zealand naval service wore the Royal Navy's White Ensign until 1968 when the distinct New Zealand White Ensign was introduced. The ensign was implemented out of a desire to distinguish New Zealand vessels from those of the Royal Navy and this decision is regarded as an important step in the development of the RNZN.
Without a flag to represent the new nation, trading ships and their valuable cargoes were liable to be seized
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