Brief history of the New Zealand flag.
(Verification and citations needed)
1834 – United Tribes Flag
The United Tribes flag first came into use in 1834.
In 1835 when the Declaration of Independence, the He Whakaputanga, was signed at Waitangi the flag was officially recognised as the flag for the whole country.
Circa 1835 United Tribes Flag
NSW Colonial Office Version
The United Tribes flag at the lower Marae in Waitangi was replaced at some point between 1835 and 1840 with the modified version.
The black border to the St Georges Cross was changed to white and the eight point stars were changed to six point stars.
This flag was never recognised as an official flag but came into common usage particularly on New Zealand registered ships.
Post 1840 Union Jack
On or about the day of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi the British flag, called the Union Jack, replaced the NSW Colonial Office version.
Below is an extract from New Zealand Government history website (ication needed).
“Following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840, the Union Jack replaced the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand as the official flag of New Zealand. The new Lieutenant-Governor, William Hobson, removed the United Tribes flag from the Bay of Islands and had the New Zealand Company’s version of the flag hauled down at Port Nicholson.
Some Māori, including the Ngāpuhi chief Hōne Heke, believed that Māori should have the right to fly the United Tribes flag alongside the Union Jack, in recognition of their equal status with the government. Heke’s repeated felling of the flagstaff at Kororāreka in 1844–45 was a vivid rejection of the Union Jack as a symbol of British power over Māori. The Ngāi Tahu chief Tūhawhaiki’s hoisting of the United Tribes flag on the island of Ruapuke in Foveaux Strait in the 1840s also symbolised Māori independence.” (NZ Govt History Website)
For the better control of fleet actions, in 1707 the British Navy was divided into three parts, each with an Admiral commanding. In the Van was the Admiral of the Red, in the centre was the Admiral of the White and in the rear was the Admiral of the Blue. For commercial shipping one of two flags was routinely used, that is either the 1707 Blue Ensign or the 1707 Red Ensign The Blue Ensign was routinely used onshore and the Red Ensign for commercial shipping.
In 1805 the White Ensign became uniformly known as the flag of the Royal Navy, the red Ensign as the flag of the Merchant Marine and the Blue Ensign for use onshore or at sea.
1902 Current New Zealand flag
The roots of New Zealand’s present flag lie in the United Kingdom’s Colonial Naval Defence Act of 1865, which ruled that all ships owned by a colonial government must fly the Blue Ensign with the badge of the colony on it. New Zealand did not have a Colonial Badge so in a somewhat hasty remedy the letters “NZ” in red with a white border were stitched onto the flag.
This was primarily a shipping flag but was also used onshore as well.
The four star of the Southern Cross, similar to what we see today, first appeared in 1869. In 1899 the introduction of an International Code of Signals for shipping led to the adoption of a signalling flag bearing the now iconic Southern Cross.
In 1900 a bill was introduced into the New Zealand Parliament to make the flag, as we know it today, the official flag of New Zealand. That Bill was passed in 1902 and also created a New Zealand White Ensign for the Royal New Zealand Navy and a Red Ensign for the Merchant Marine and private vessels.
Two Flags – One Meaning – One Nation
The Name of our Nation
New Zealand in 2022 actually has two flags, one or other of which people will say is the proper or valid flag for the nation. An issue associated with the flags is the name of the country.
Naturally a large portion of Maoridom identify with the United Tribes Flag and call New Zealand Nu Terini (various spellings), however, that word seems to be a transliteration of the English words New Territory into the nearest phonetic equivalent in Maori. What seems certain from historical documents is that no Maori tribe had a name for the whole country.
ach Hapu had a name for the area in which they lived and prominent landmarks outside their are were often named. The fact that the Declaration of Independence, the He Wakaputanga (various spellings), identified a territory as that area north of Hauraki (Thames), it has become commonly applied to the whole country by use.
The name New Zealand apparently originated from the pen of a Dutch mapmaker who wrote the name as Nieuw Zeeland, though that name was reportedly given by Abel Tasman who in 1642 was the first European visitor to the country for a very long time. Prior to Maori occupation, circa 1200-1300 AD, there were at least three different people groups living in New Zealand.
(Ref: Ancient Celtic New Zealand: Martin Doutre: ISBN 0-473-05367-5)
In more modern times the word Aotearoa has come into use, however, it appears to be a modern construct and if it did refer to a land are it is most likely applied to only a part of the North Island. Even the English naming of the land has maps from the early 19th century calling the South Island the Middle Island and Stewart Island the South Island. Aotearoa has, however, been included into the Maori version of our National Anthem. Though that is the case it does not give the word authority as an alternative name.
According to Maori mythology the South Island was Maui’s canoe and the North Island was the fish Maui hooked and brought to the surface. The Te Ika a Maui. The South Island was generally known as Te Wai Pounamu (‘The [land of] Greenstone Water’) or Te Wahi Pounamu (‘The Place of Greenstone’). There does not appear to be a commonly accepted Maori historical name for the entire country.
The only way this matter can be resolved is for a national referendum on the subject.
The Two Flags
The United Tribes flag holds much significance to Maori people and in our opinion was the first official flag of New Zealand as an independent self governing nation. The flags that replaced it after 1840 were actually symbols of colonial ownership, first by the New South Wales Colonial House who governed for a time, then by the Crown Corporation who raised the British flag and completely ignored the 1835 Declaration. A sovereign nation cannot be controlled by an external foreign government so the He Wakaputanga had to be pushed aside and marginalised. Ever since 1840 New Zealand has not been governed by New Zealanders but has operated as a corporation, often contrary to the will of the people of New Zealand.
To many the British flag, the Union Jack is a symbol of colonial oppression and malfeasance but to a large proportion of our nation it is a symbol of our national heritage, the source of our Common Law and the blessings of God over our nation. The United Tribes flag is, in our opinion, of paramount importance because it represents the Declaration of Independence.
Let’s read again the English version of that Declaration:
Declaration of Independence of New Zealand
1. We, the hereditary chiefs and heads of the tribes of the Northern parts of New Zealand, being assembled at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, on this 28th day of October, 1835, declare the Independence of our country, which is hereby constituted and declared to be an Independent State, under the designation of The United Tribes of New Zealand.
2. All sovereign power and authority within the territories of the United Tribes of New Zealand is hereby declared to reside entirely and exclusively in the hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes in their collective capacity, who also declare that they will not permit any legislative authority separate from themselves in their collective capacity to exist, nor any function of government to be exercised within the said territories, unless by persons appointed by them, and acting under the authority of laws regularly enacted by them in Congress assembled.
3. The hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes agree to meet in Congress at Waitangi in the autumn of each year, for the purpose of framing laws for the dispensation of justice, the preservation of peace and good order, and the regulation of trade; and they cordially invite the Southern tribes to lay aside their private animosities and to consult the safety and welfare of our common country, by joining the Confederation of the United Tribes.
4. They also agree to send a copy of this Declaration to His Majesty, the King of England, to thank him for his acknowledgement of their flag; and in return for the friendship and protection they have shown, and are prepared to show, to such of his subjects as have settled in their country, or resorted to its shores for the purposes of trade, they entreat that he will continue to be the parent of their infant State, and that he will become its Protector from all attempts upon its independence.
Agreed to unanimously on this 28 day of October, 1835, in the presence of His Britannic Majesty’s Resident.
Key phrases here are:
“…Independent State, …”
“…sovereign power and authority…”
“…not permit any legislative authority separate from themselves…”
The King of England to be “…protector from all attempts upon its independence.”
The protection of the King of England to defend New Zealand’s independence gave our country lawful access to the whole body of Common Law, founded upon the Biblical Commandments and Laws given to Man by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The United Tribes flag is symbolic of the absolute sovereignty of New Zealand entrusted to the Maori Chiefs who signed the Declaration. It is also symbolic of the true Laws by which New Zealand should be governed. That is God’s laws as now embodied in Common Law and the Natural Law of all humanity.
The New Zealand Blue Ensign has flown over this country for more than a hundred years. The Southern Cross on the right hand half of the flag is a well recognised symbol. Most people see the Southern Cross in our night sky but have no idea of the significance of that constellation. Click here to see an overview of that significance.
Our Blue Ensign is internationally recognised and is marked on countless legal documents, used in innumerable representations of New Zealand from flags on a backpackers backpack to medal winners at Olympic Games. It has been carried onto the sports field all over the world and onto the battlefield since the Boer war. The list of military honours alone this flag has witnessed is long. Two World Wars and many smaller conflicts where New Zealanders, Maori, British and European have found their resting place in foreign soils.
Some wish to cast aside all of New Zealand history with a new flag. Many designs have been proffered which are better suited to a design for a beach towel. But none of the designs embody the history, the laws, the sacrifices, and achievements of New Zealand and its people. Both flags need to remain in a form that is true to their origins but remain that recognisable, iconic flag the world already knows.
My personal opinion is that the two flags should be combined.
On the Blue Ensign duplicate the black border around the St Georges Cross representing Royal Protection of the British Crown.
The Union Jack represents the origins of most settlers to New Zealand and the superiority of English Common Law over the unlawful corporate law.
From the United Tribes flag transfer the four stars to the same positions over the Union Jack symbolising the Sovereignty and Primacy of the Declaration of Independence.
Outline the four stars in black to symbolise the protection of the Maori hereditary chiefs over the governance of New Zealand.
Such a flag is immediately recognisable as the iconic symbol the world knows but maintains the honour and respect, the Mana, of all the generations that have lived and died under one or both of the flags.
One Nation, One People, One Flag
At first glance the New Zealand flag seems to be just a flag, but in fact the New Zealand flag is the most significant flag in the entire world because it proclaims the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the fact of the Anglo Celto Saxon peoples as the true Israelites
Simple and unadorned by other symbols this flag is the one both my parents and I were born under. In the top left is The Union Flag, symbolic of the re-gathered whole house of Israel and also of a country which since time immemorial has followed God and God alone and enshrined His laws in the common law of the land.
The stars represent the constellation commonly known as the Southern Cross, but it has a much older name. This was discovered in Egypt from a representation of the stars (zodiac) which dates to several thousand years before Christ, that was the Denderah Zodiac (now in the Louvre, Paris). It was referred to here as meaning salvation or redemption, a meaning it has in many other cultures as well. Also, the Hebrews gave it the symbol ‘+’ or Tau the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet which is ‘finishing or completeness’. Most references also give it a Hebrew name ‘Adom’ with the meaning ‘cut off’ and refer to Daniel 9:26 “And after threescore and two weeks Messiah shall be cut off”, however, that meaning, though widely used, does not seem consistent with Hebrew lexicons, so that reference is uncertain.
This constellation was visible from the northern hemisphere but, because of an astronomical phenomena called ‘Precession of the Equinoxes’, the constellation has moved south. It was visible from Jerusalem up until about the time of Jesus, but now one needs to go down to 27 degrees north latitude before it can be seen. (Jerusalem is 31.7 North).
So, a star constellation in the shape of a cross on which Jesus would eventually die, was related to the salvation and redemption that Jesus would bring on the cross, thousands of years before he was even born.
When I traced my own ancestry I found that my Father’s side is Ulster Irish / Scots and my mother’s is Cornish / English. I love this flag because I was born of Israelite parents under His sign in the heavens and the message I have to proclaim is what this flag represents.
The bringing together of the Israelite Nation with their Saviour, Lord and coming King.
© Alexander Knox 2013