The flag of New Zealand consists of a blue field, a Union Flag on the mast side, and four red stars that are bordered in white on the right-hand side. The flag is similar to that of Australia, but this flag was flown over 30 years before the Australian flag. The current flag was first used flown on colonial ships based in the country as early as 1869 and was given official recognition as the national flag in 1902. For several years there has chatter regarding the changing of the flag, but in the referendum of 2016, the country decided to keep the current banner.

The four red stars bordered in white are representative of the nation's location in the Southern Pacific Ocean and also represent one of the most prominent constellations seen from the country. The flag of New Zealand is the first national flag in history to incorporate the Southern Cross constellation; however, smaller regions within Australia and New Zealand have used this symbol since the 1820s.


The Union Jack is a symbol of the country's British colonial past, and this emblem is made up of St. Andrew's Cross of Scotland, St. George's Cross of England, and St. Patrick's Cross of Ireland. Many former British colonies around the world still use the Union Jack as a part of their flag. The current flag of New Zealand was designed by a First Lieutenant of the Royal Navy, Albert Hastings Markham, in 1869. He submitted his design to the Governor of New Zealand to become the national ensign of the nation. As mentioned earlier, the flag was initially used on naval ships, but in 1902, the flag was officially adopted nationally and has remained the national flag since.

Previous flags of New Zealand include the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, The Union Jack, and similar designs to the current flag which were used for the navy. The United Tribes of New Zealand flag consists of the St George Cross as well as a smaller red cross on a blue background in the upper left corner, outlined in black to make it stand out more, and a white, eight-pointed star in each quarter of the smaller red cross. This flag was adopted in 1834, six years before New Zealand became an official British colony.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018