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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
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.




Since the first European contact over 300 years ago, there have been upwards of 1,500 flags flown in New Zealand. The discoverers – representing many countries – missionaries, early whaling and trading companies, colonial and imperial troop formations, Maori political and religious movements, and the various Government and local authorities have all possessed distinctive flags. Among the non-official organisations and bodies possessing flags may be listed shipping companies, some cities, sports clubs, gentlemen's clubs, some commercial enterprises, several religious denominations, and at least one political party. For convenience the field is here divided into nine categories: (a) Pre-1840 and historical flags; (b) New Zealand Government flags; (c) The Governor's standards; (d) Maori “King” Movement flags; (e) Hauhau rebel flags; (f) Te Kooti's flags; (g) Maori “Queen” flags; (h) Shipping companies' flags; (i) Companies', churches', and club flags. These by no means constitute a complete record and several categories have been excluded, such as flags from New Zealand's dependencies, regimental flags, uniformed youth or other movements' flags, sports clubs, and the like. With the exception of Government and vice-regal flags, only examples illustrative of each category are shown.


Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.