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New Zealand Ensigns

Last modified: 2010-09-24 by jonathan dixon
Keywords: blue ensign | red ensign | white ensign | air force ensign | civil air ensign | navy | stars: southern cross | stars: 4 | anchor (yellow) | police | nzp | fire service |
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Civil ensign

[ New Zealand Civil Ensign ] 1:2
image by Clay Moss, 26 April 2009

The New Zealand Red Ensign, with four white stars, became in 1901 the correct flag for New Zealand merchant vessels. The statute also allows the Red Ensign to be used on land on occasions of Maori significance, continuing the long preference of Maori for the use of red in flags.
Stuart Park, 8 July 1997

In 1887 the British Board of Trade set up a committee to revise the International Code of Signals. Details of the revised code, due to come into use on 1st January 1901, were published in 1898. It continued the existing practice that, "A ship wishing to make a signal hoists her ensign with the code flag under." A new ensign was introduced to identify British colonial merchant ships, a white circle in the fly of the Red Ensign, with the badge of the colony inside the circle.

The Nautical Adviser to the New Zealand Marine Department recommended that four red stars should be set in the circle on the Red Ensign, and a similar badge used on the Blue Ensign. The New Zealand Government agreed to this, and a request for approval of the ensigns was forwarded to London on 5th July 1898 by the Governor, the Earl of Ranfurly. The ensigns were authorised by an Admiralty Warrant dated 7th February 1899, announced in the New Zealand Gazette on 23rd November 1899, and came into use on 1st January 1900.
David Prothero, 2 January 2005

The New Zealand Red Ensign had not been changed by the 1902 Act, but in the following year, the Shipping and Seamen Act, Part XIV, (No.96) section 341, replaced the white disc in the fly of the Red Ensign, with four five-pointed white stars.
David Prothero, 4 January 2005

According to the 'New Zealand White Ensign Regulations 1968':

"The ensign shall comply with the description of the New Zealand Ensign, as set out in the notice by the Minister of Marine published in the Gazette on the 24th day of June 1902..., save that the lower canton of the hoist and the fly thereof shall be white and the Southern Cross on the fly shall be represented by red stars as in the New Zealand ensign increased by the width of the white borders to the stars in that ensign."

While this description only applies to the white ensign, it is suspected that the same description of the stars also applies to the red ensign.
Ailsa Cain, 11 October 2002


Government ensign

[ Goverment Ensign of New Zealand ] 1:2
image by Clay Moss, 26 April 2009

On 12.06.1902 this was promulgated as being the national flag «for general use ashore and government vessels» (afloat).
David Prothero, 3 July 1997


Naval ensign

[ New Zealand Naval Ensign ] 1:2
by Clay Moss, 26 April 2009

See:


Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) ensign

[ Royal New Zealand Air Force Ensign ] 1:2
image by Clay Moss, 27 April 2009

See:


Civil Air ensign

[ New Zealand Civil Air Ensign ] 1:2
image by Clay Moss, 18 January 2009

See:


New Zealand Police ensign

[ Police ensign ]1:2
image by Sam Lockton, 6 September 2002
Click here to see a photo image of this flag.

This ensign consists of a Royal Blue flag proportioned 1:2. The New Zealand National Ensign appears in the canton. In the fly of the flag is the New Zealand Police Seal coloured silver-gray. The seal consists of the Queen’s Crown surmounting three inter linked letters ("NZP" for New Zealand Police). The letters are surrounded by two silver ferns. This flag is flown outside all police stations in New Zealand. It flies beneath the New Zealand Blue Ensign on National Holidays, and is draped upon the caskets of Police Officers killed in the line of duty.
Dean Thomas, 6 September 1999

The NZ Water Police use the Police Ensign on unit vessels, and the ensign is also seen flying along side the national flag at major police stations.
Sam Lockton, 6 September 2002

With respect to the Police and Fire Service ensigns, the illustrations are accurate (I go past examples of both every day), but I recall that in the 70s and 80s there used to be a white fimbriation around the NZ Flag in the canton. Presumably a decision has since been made to remove it, maybe for production cost reasons(?).
Michael Sykes, 23 July 2009


New Zealand Fire Service ensign

[ Fire Service Ensign ]1:2
image by Sam Lockton, 6 September 2002

The Fire Service Ensign is used at major Fire Service stations.
Sam Lockton, 6 September 2002

With respect to the Police and Fire Service ensigns, the illustrations are accurate (I go past examples of both every day), but I recall that in the 70s and 80s there used to be a white fimbriation around the NZ Flag in the canton. Presumably a decision has since been made to remove it, maybe for production cost reasons(?).
Michael Sykes, 23 July 2009