The New Zealand Flag is New Zealand’s national symbol. Its royal blue background is reminiscent of the blue sea and sky surrounding us, and the stars of the Southern Cross signify our place in the South Pacific Ocean. The Union Flag recognises our historical foundations and that New Zealand was once a British colony and dominion.
The New Zealand Flag
The New Zealand Flag can be flown any day of the year, especially on days of national commemoration, such as Anzac Day, and other important occasions.
The New Zealand Flag represents the people of New Zealand and should be treated with respect. To use, display, destroy, or damage the Flag in or within view of a public place with the intention of dishonouring it is an offence. It’s also an offence to place any letter, emblem, or representation on the Flag, unless in some advertising contexts. People who misuse the flag can be prosecuted under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981. Details about the Ministry's enforcement and prosecution policy for this act is available on our legislation page.
In this section you’ll find information on the New Zealand Flag’s origins, design, and how it should be flown and displayed. And details of the national Māori flag and the seven other flags that are used for official purposes in New Zealand.
Flag referendum process
In October 2014 Cabinet agreed on the details of the flag referendum process with every political party represented in Parliament invited to take part. Relevant press releases include the following.