The flag of New Zealand is a defaced Blue Ensign with the Union Flag in the canton, and four red stars with white borders to the right. The stars' pattern represents the asterism within the constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross.

As well as the National Flag, the NZ Blue Ensign also serves as the Naval Jack, Government Ensign, and the Vehicle Flag for the Prime Minister, Government Ministers, and New Zealand Ambassadors/High Commissioners.

New Zealand's first flag, the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, was adopted in 1834, six years before New Zealand became a British colony following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Chosen by an assembly of Māori chiefs at Waitangi in 1834, the flag was of a St George's Cross with another St. George's Cross (albeit with black fumbriation) in the canton containing four eight-pointed stars on a blue field. After the formation of the colony in 1840, British ensigns began to be used. The current flag was designed and adopted for use on Colonial ships in 1869, was quickly adopted as New Zealand's national flag, and given statutory recognition in 1902.

Current ensigns and municipal/regional flags Edit

Proposed flagsEdit

2015–16 referendumEdit

For several decades there has been debate about changing the flag. In 2015 and 2016, a two-stage binding referendum on a flag change took place with voting on the second final stage closing on 24 March 2016.

Over 10,000 designs were submitted by the public. From these, the Flag Consideration Panel created a longlist of 40 flags, which was then further narrowed down to a shortlist of four (see below). A fifth design, "Red Peak", was added after a campaign on social media.

The first referendum in November–December 2015 let people rank these five designs in order of preference. The winner, Kyle Lockwood's "Silver Fern (Black, White & Blue)", took on the current flag in the second referendum in March 2016. The country voted to keep the existing flag by 57% to 43%.

Other proposalsEdit

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