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Guidance on use of the word ‘Anzac’

The Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981

Section 17 of the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 (the Act) prohibits the use of the word ‘Anzac’ in trade or business. The following guidance explains what uses will generally not be in breach of the prohibition in section 17. However, this guidance should not be seen as legal advice.

Flags, Emblems, and Name Protection Act 1981 (New Zealand Legislation)

Protection of the word ‘Anzac’

The importance of ‘Anzac’ to New Zealand is enshrined in law with the use of the term ‘Anzac’ protected since 1916. Section 17 of the Act states that, ‘The Governor-General may... prohibit, regulate, or control the use in connection with any business, trade, or occupation of the word ‘Anzac’ or of any other word that so closely resembles the word ‘Anzac’ as to be likely to deceive or mislead any person.’

In 1916, the Governor General notified two Gazette Notices which made it unlawful for any person to use the term ‘Anzac’ in connection with any trade or business. This means the term ‘Anzac’ can’t be used for any commercial venture.

In 2003, the Australian and New Zealand Governments made a joint application to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for international protection of the word ‘Anzac’. The 164 countries that are party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (which is administered by WIPO) are now required to refuse any application to register Anzac as a trademark and to prohibit its unauthorised use as a trademark.

The intention of the protection of the word ‘Anzac’ is to safeguard the term from commercialisation and to ensure its use is not offensive to public sentiment.

ANZAC or ‘Anzac’

We recommend using the term ‘ANZAC’ with all capitals only when referring to the specific Corps. For example, ‘On the Western Front there were two Anzac corps, with New Zealand Division serving in II ANZAC Corps until 1918. New Zealanders who died in war are remembered on Anzac Day.’

For all other uses ‘Anzac’ is recommended.

Requests to use the word ‘Anzac’

As we administer the Act, we can provide guidance on whether a particular use is permitted under the Act, that is, not in breach of section 17. We assess applications to use the word ‘Anzac’ on a case-by-case basis, and considering factors such as:

  • the Act’s intent to protect the word from connection with any trade or business ventures
  • whether there is a commemorative link between the proposed use and the Anzacs and the Gallipoli campaign or wider New Zealand involvement in military conflicts
  • the views of the ex-service community
  • whether the application is mainly for a charitable purpose
  • whether the proposed use has commemorative and educational benefits.

The meaning of charitable purpose

The meaning of charitable purpose is established in common law and reflected in section 5(1) of the New Zealand Charities Act 2005 as:

Charitable purpose includes every charitable purpose, whether it relates to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion or any other matter beneficial to the community.

Such purposes must also provide public benefit to be considered charitable. For an example, see the case of Latimer versus Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2000] 3 NZLR 195 at [37-42].

Supporting information

When seeking our guidance about whether your intended use of the word ‘Anzac’ is permitted, supply us with as much information as possible concerning how you propose to use the word, including pictures or samples of proposed products where appropriate.

Accepted uses of the word ‘Anzac’

The Ministry has adopted a policy position that the following uses of the word ‘Anzac’ are generally not in breach of the Act:

  1. The use of the word ‘Anzac’ for a biscuit provided the product conforms to the general recipes and shape traditionally known as an ‘Anzac biscuit’. This does not apply to products such as cookies, slices, loaves or muesli bars. 
  2. The use of the words ‘Anzac Day’ in connection with an event held on 25 April itself or on preceding or consecutive days including 25 April. For example, a business may hold an ‘Anzac Day sale’. However, it would be an offence to have an ‘Anzac Sale’.
  3. The use of the word ‘Anzac’, or a word resembling it, in the name of a street, road or park containing, or near, a WW1 or WW2 war memorial. 
  4. The use of the word ‘Anzac’ in the name of a business located on a road, street or avenue that includes the word ‘Anzac’, provided the full name of that road, street or avenue is included, for example Anzac Avenue Supermarket.

The use of the word ‘Anzac’’ must not be offensive to public sentiment. We can provide more detailed guidance about the legislation in this regard and on specific proposed uses when asked.

Jewellery, ornaments or badges

Permission is required from the Attorney-General, on referral from us, to manufacture and sell any ornament, badge or piece of jewellery using the word ‘Anzac’. The word cannot be used as a trade name, trademark or registrable design.

Penalty for unauthorised use

It is an offence to use the word ‘Anzac’ in a way that is in breach of the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 if this use has not been approved by the Governor-General. 
Every person who commits an offence against the Act is liable. The fines are as follows:

  • In the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding $5,000
  • In the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $50,000. Where the offence is a continuing one, a further fine not exceeding $5,000 is charged for every day during which the offence has continued.

If you have questions or want to apply

Contact us if you have any questions about the use of the term ‘Anzac’ or wish to make an application for the use of the word ‘Anzac’. 

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (04) 499-4229.

Send applications to use the word ‘Anzac’ to:

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

PO Box 5364 
Wellington 6140 
New Zealand