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Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand facts for kids

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Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand
Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand

The flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand is an official flag of New Zealand and is flown continuously in the presence of the Governor-General of New Zealand. The flag in its present form was adopted in 2008 and is a blue flag 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 flag is flown at places the Governor-General occupies or resides such as Governor-General's residence, Parliament of New Zealand while attending Executive Council meetings and on official vehicles. The flag of the Governor-General takes precedence over the flag of New Zealand and is second only to the Queen's Personal New Zealand Flag.


New Zealand as self-governing colony

New Zealand was established as the Colony of New Zealand, separate from New South Wales, in 1841. The colony became self-governing in 1853 following the passing of the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852. In 1869 the Admiralty directed that "Governors ...administering the Governments of British Colonies and Dependencies be authorised to fly the Union Jack, with the Arms or Badge of the Colony emblazoned in the centre thereof". There was at the time no colonial badge for New Zealand.

Accordingly, in October 1869 the decision was made of including a Jack with the "Southern Cross, as represented in the Blue Ensign by four five-pointed red stars in the fly, with white borders to correspond to the colouring of the Jack; in the Jack by four five-pointed white stars on the red ground of the St George's Cross; and in the pendant by four stars near the staff similar to those in the Ensign".

In October 1874 Sir James Fergusson announced "... that the seal or badge to be worn in the Union Jack used by the Governor of New Zealand when embarked in any boat or other vessel shall be the Southern Cross as represented by four five-pointed red stars emblazoned on the white shield aforesaid, and the monogram NZ in red letters in the centre of the Southern Cross."

Succeeding Governors found it convenient to use this flag on shore and it became accepted as the official vice-regal flag.

New Zealand as dominion and, later, realm

In 1907 New Zealand's status was officially transformed from self-governing colony to dominion. To mark the transition to independence, the New Zealand Government requested that the garland of laurels on the Governor’s flag should be replaced by one of fern leaves, the fern leaf was already recognised as one of New Zealand's national symbols.

In a letter of 5 January 1908 the Governor requested that the garland around the badge on his flag be changed from the usual green laurel leaves to a garland of fern leaves, and referred to the garland of maple leaves surrounding the badge on the Flag of the Governor General of Canada as a precedent. This was approved without hesitation, since the regulations only stipulated that the device on the flags of Governors should be surrounded by a "green garland". The type of leaves was not specified.

A new design was adopted in January 1931, to reflect the Balfour Declaration of 1926 whereby the Governor General was now the representative of the monarch in the Dominion of New Zealand, rather than a representative of the British government. The New Zealand badge was replaced by the Royal Crest. The words "Dominion of New Zealand" were displayed on a gold scroll beneath the badge.

As neither Governor-General Lord Bledisloe nor his ministers were sympathetic to the change, the old flag was retained, and the new flag was not flown until after Lord Galway's arrival.

Minor stylistic changes were made around 1953, including changing the scroll's text to "New Zealand".

On 2 June 2008 a new design was adopted, the timing coinciding with the official observance of the Queen's birthday.


The flag is protected under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981, Section 12(1) states:

Every person commits an offence against this Act who, without the authority of Her Majesty or (as the case may require) the Governor-General, displays or exhibits or otherwise uses any representation to which this subsection applies in such a manner as to be likely to cause any person to believe that he does so under the authority, sanction, approval, appointment, or patronage of Her Majesty or the Governor-General.

According to Section 12(2)(d), this applies to, among others, "any representation of the Governor-General’s flag".

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