Story: Flags

United Tribes' flag: original flag (1st of 4)

This is a sketch of the original design chosen by a gathering of Māori chiefs at Waitangi on 20 March 1834 to be New Zealand's flag. It was actually one used by the Church Missionary Society, but it is known as the United Tribes' flag after this group of chiefs. The flag contained a red St George's cross on a white background, with a smaller St George's cross bordered with black on a blue background in the upper quarter. A white eight-pointed star was located in each quarter of the smaller cross. Slightly different versions of this flag were subsequently (and mistakenly) used, but this is the original United Tribes' flag. It was replaced as New Zealand's flag by the Union Jack when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840.

Using this item

United Kingdom National Archives
Reference: CO 209/1 no. 14

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Flags - New Zealand flag', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 April 2024)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 20 Apr 2016