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Royal New Zealand Air Force Ensign


The ensign has a light blue ground with the Union Jack in the first quarter and the Air Force roundel on the fly.

The roundel

While the roundel on the RNZAF ensign has not changed since its introduction in 1939, a number of versions of the roundel have been used on RNZAF aircraft. The RAF roundel was used until 1942. Between 1942 and 1945 it was primarily blue/white/blue, occasionally with white side-bands outlined in blue. Having reverted back to the RAF roundel in 1946, it remained unchanged when the RAF enlarged the red disc on its roundel the following year.

In January 1957 the Air Board announced that it had developed a new national emblem – a white fern would be placed on the central red of the RNZAF roundel. Because of remarks that this looked like a white feather, a symbol of cowardice, the colour was changed to silver, but on aircraft fuselage this looked like peeling paint. While some called for the fern to be replaced by a kiwi, others remarked that a flightless bird could hardly be an appropriate emblem for an air force. But support for the kiwi won out – a red kiwi was formally adopted in place of the red spot in September 1970. This roundel is still in use today, but since the 1980s it has appeared on aircraft as a red kiwi on a blue disc, or a black circle around a black kiwi, to assist in camouflage.

How to cite this page

Royal New Zealand Air Force Ensign, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated