Story: Coat of arms

First New Zealand coat of arms, 1911 (1st of 2)

This version of the New Zealand coat of arms was approved by the British College of Arms in 1911, after a design competition in which 75 entries were received. The 1956 redesign of the coat of arms (still in use in the 2000s) was based on this 1911 version, with a number of differences. The later design featured a crown above the shield, rather than a lion with a Union Jack; the European woman and Māori man faced one another; the words ‘New Zealand’ replaced ‘Onward’; and the scroll was framed by fern leaves.

The 1911 coat of arms had the following official heraldic description:

Arms: Quarterly, Azure and Gules on a Pale Argent three Lymphads (sailing vessels) Sable. In the first quarter four Mullets in cross of the last each surmounted by a Mullet of the second (representing the Constellation of the Southern Cross); in the second quarter a Fleece; in the third a Garb (wheat sheaf); and in the fourth two Mining Hammers in Saltire all Or.

Crest: On a Wreath of the Colours a demi-Lion rampant guardant Or supporting a flag-staff erect proper thereon flying to the sinister [left] the Union Flag. Supporters: On the dexter side, a female figure proper vested Argent supporting in the dexter hand a Flag-staff proper, hoisted thereon the Ensign of the Dominion of New Zealand, and on the sinister side a Maori Rangatira vested proper holding in his dexter hand a Taiaha all proper.

Motto: Onward.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: 1992-0035-1583

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Stephen Levine, 'Coat of arms - British and 1911 coats of arms', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 September 2022)

Story by Stephen Levine, published 20 Jun 2012