Flag of New Zealand
From Academic Kids
Prior to 1840 the 'Flag of the united tribes' was often used as a semi-official New Zealand flag. It featured two crosses of St George and four stars in the top left. After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 the British Union Flag became the official New Zealand flag.
The current Flag of New Zealand was introduced in 1869. It was initially used only on Government ships, but was soon adopted as the de facto national flag. It was officially made the national flag by Parliament in 1902. It is a dark blue ensign with the Union Flag, in the top left hand corner, with four red stars with white borders to the right.
The flag proportion is 2:1 and the colours are Red (Pantone 186), Blue (Pantone 280) and White. Proportion and colours are identical to the Union Flag.
The red ensign may continue to be flown on land in Maori areas or during Maori events under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 (http://www.mch.govt.nz/nzflag/other-flags.htm) in recognition of long held Maori preference for red flags. New Zealand law allows the defacement of the flag in accordance to Maori custom in which white capital letters identifying a particular family or Maori tribe are added. In the case of the flag on the left, TAKITIMU refers to a grouping of Maori tribes descended from the crew of the ancestral canoe of that name  (http://flagspot.net/flags/nz_mao.html#red).
Today, private and merchant craft can choose to fly the Flag of New Zealand (ie the blue ensign) or the Southern Cross red ensign.
The flag debate
For several years a number of people have been proposing designs for an alternative flag for New Zealand (see examples below).
Proponents of the idea claim that the present flag is old-fashioned, doesn't evoke emotional feelings, and has little connection with the land. Many also object to the presence of the Union Flag (also known as Union Jack) on the flag as being overly colonial, or to its similarities to the Australian flag.
Opponents say that this is the New Zealand flag, we chose it, and we should be proud of it. They say it does evoke emotional response in them. They also say that it represents the history and geography of the country, that the flag is a colourful good design, and that it is the flag New Zealanders have fought and died under while it has represented the country for 135 years. Some also claim that it is not as similar to the Australian flag as is often suggested, and that many countries have flags that are very similar or even identical to the flags of other countries. They also criticise the proposed alternatives, saying they focus on Maori and Pacific designs when most of New Zealand's heritage is Anglo-Saxon and Celtic, or the Silver Fern which they say is the logo of some of New Zealand's sporting teams rather than the country itself.
Currently opinion polls indicate a majority in favour of retaining the present flag, and as yet proponents of changing the flag are still undecided as to which design should replace the flag.
- Ministry of Culture and Heritage - New Zealand Flag (http://www.mch.govt.nz/nzflag/)
- New Zealand and the Maori flag (http://www.itv.se/boreale/nznext.htm)
- Other New Zealand flags (http://flagspot.net/flags/nz-index.html) From Flags of the World
- New Zealand Flag Institute (http://www.nzflaginstitute.com)
- New New Zealand flag Campaign from nzflag.com (http://www.nzflag.com)
- Petition form (http://www.nzflag.com/Petition_Form.cfm) to have the flag changed
- Defend the Flag! (http://saveourflag.nationalfront.org.nz/index.php?page=reason) campaign by the New Zealand National Front to retain New Zealand's current flag
- Proposals for a new flag  (http://www.hbtv.co.nz/flagnz/)  (http://www.flag.gq.nu/)
|List of national flags | List of national coats of arms|