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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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The many aspects of New Zealand life are symbolised on the national arms, the emblems of which re-occur continually in local coats of arms, the arms of the four major cities proving this.

City of Auckland:

Arms: Argent, upon waves of the sea a two-masted ship in full sail proper flagged Gules, on a chief per pale Azure and Gules to the dexter a Cornucopia Or, to the sinister a Shovel surmounted by a Pick, in Saltire proper.

Crest: Issuant out of a Mural Crown Or a representation of the Phormium Tenax flowered proper.

Supporters: On either side an Apteryx (or Kiwi) proper.

Motto: Advance.

City of Wellington:

Arms: Quarterly Gules and Azure, a Cross Or between; In the first quarter a Fleece Or; in the second quarter on Water barry wavy proper in base a Lymphad sail furled pennon and flags flying Argent; in the third quarter a Garb Or; in the fourth quarter five Plates in Saltire Argent.

Crest: On a Mural Crown Argent a Dolphin Naiant Azure, Mantled Gules.

Supporters: On the dexter side a Lion gorged with a Collar and Chain reflexed over the back Or, and on the sinister side a Moa proper.

Motto: Suprema a Situ (supreme by position).

City of Christchurch:

Arms: Or on a Chevron Gules a Mitre between a Fleece and a Garb of the first in base two Bars wavy Azure on a Chief of the last four Lymphads sails furled also of the first.

Crest: On a wreath Or and Azure a Kiwi proper.

Supporters: On either side a Pukeko proper.

Motto: Fide Condita, Fructu Beata, Spe Fortis (founded in faith, rich in production, strong in hope).

City of Dunedin:

Arms: Argent above a Fess Dancette Vert, a Castle Triple-Towered Sable on a Rock issuing from the Fess, Masoned Argent, with Windows, Vanes and Portcullis Gules. In the base a Three-Masted Lymphad with Sail Furled Azure, Flagged of Scotland, a Ram's Head Affrontee Horned Or between Two Garbs.

Coronet: A Mural Crown.

Supporters: On the dexter a Scotsman Habited with Philabeg and Plaid of the Clan Cameron, supporting in His Exterior Hand a Cromach; on the Sinister a Maori Chief Attired in Korowai (waist mat), Two Huia Feathers in his hair, an Aurei (greenstone ear pendant) and a Hei Matau (greenstone neck pendant) and in His Exterior hand a Taiaha. Motto: Maiorum Institutis Utendo (by following in the steps of our forefathers).

In recent years, as many local bodies celebrated their centenaries or boroughs reached city status, attention has been focused on the designs of their coats of arms. Many of those in existence which have been found unsuitable or inexpertly drawn or perpetrating heraldic errors, have been redesigned and approved by the College of Arms or the Lyons Office in Edinburgh. Amongst these is Invercargill, whose badge was a quartered shield; in the first quarter a plough; the second a garb; the third a wool bale; and the fourth a ship. The new coat of arms granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Edinburgh, on 25 July 1958, is:

Arms: Or, on three Bars Wavy Gules a Ram's Head Horned Affrontee proper, on a Chief Wavy Azure a Lymphad Argent, Flagged Gules between two Garbs Or.

Crest: A Mural Crown Argent.

Supporters: On either side a Takahe proper.

Motto: Pro Communi Utilitate (for the use of the community).

Arms of famous families have been adopted by some local bodies. Wanganui which was once known as Petre, on attaining city status on 1 July 1924, adopted the Petre arms, while the arms of the Temple family, of which Lord Palmerston was a member, form the sinister side of Palmerston North's arms.

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