The flag of New Zealand is blue with the Union Flag in the canton and four red stars with white borders to the right. The stars represent the Southern Cross.
New Zealand’s first flag, adopted in 1834, was the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand and was used before the country became a British colony.
After the singing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the British Union Flag was used but the United Tribes of New Zealand flag was used by ships and sometimes even on land.
The first flag based on the British blue ensign was introduced in 1867, when all ships owned by the colonial government flew the defaced Royal Navy blue ensign with a Colonial badge. But New Zealand didn’t have a Colonial badge so the letters “NZ” were used instead.
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The current flag was designed and adopted only on government ships in 1869. It became national flag 1902, when it was adopted de facto.
Other New Zealand Flags
The silver fern on a black background is often seen at sporting events. It doesn’t have any formal recognition but many see it as the unofficial flag of New Zealand.
The Tino rangatiratanga flag has been used by some Maori since 1990 as an alternative to the official flag. It is used as a symbol of Maori independence. The colors — black, red and white — represent: potentiality, open daylight , and the physical world of light and understanding.
Did you know?
The flag of Australia is similar to the flag of New Zealand , both having the Union Flag in the canton and the Southern Cross on the fly. However, the Australian flag has 6 white stars, while the New Zealand flag has 4 red stars with white borders. And the Australian flag features the Commonwealth Star below the Union Flag.
The silver fern is also incorporated in the logo of the All Blacks rugby team.