Flags of New Zealand

Page 5 – Other official flags

Five flags other than the New Zealand flag are flown for official purposes in New Zealand. They are the Governor-General's Flag, the New Zealand Red Ensign, the New Zealand White Ensign, the Royal New Zealand Air Force Ensign, and the New Zealand Civil Air Ensign. A sixth flag, the Queen's New Zealand Flag, ceased to be used following her death on 8 September 2022.

The Governor-General's Flag

Governor-General's flag

The current Governor-General's flag was introduced in 2008, replacing an earlier version which had been approved by King George V in 1931 and adopted by New Zealand in 1937.

It is flown on all occasions when the Governor-General is present, and takes precedence over the New Zealand Flag.

New Zealand Red Ensign

Red Ensign 

The New Zealand Red Ensign, adopted in 1903, is based on the Red Ensign (colloquially known as the 'red duster') that has been flown for centuries by merchant ships registered in the United Kingdom.

Merchant ships registered in New Zealand initially carried the Red Ensign. But in 1899 a white disc with the four red stars of the Southern Cross was introduced to identify the colony's merchant ships. (A white disc was added to New Zealand's Blue Ensign at the same time.) The current design was introduced in 1903.

The New Zealand Red Ensign has sometimes been flown incorrectly, both here and overseas, in the belief that it is our national flag. The Red Ensign may be flown on land in places or on occasions of Māori significance. The Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 allowed for the continuation of this traditional practice. Read more...

New Zealand White Ensign

White Ensign

In 1968 the New Zealand White Ensign replaced the British White Ensign that had previously been used by ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

It is flown by ships and commissioned shore establishments of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Read more...

Royal New Zealand Air Force Ensign

RNZAF Ensign

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Ensign was approved in 1939. It is based on the Royal Air Force ensign, with the letters 'NZ' inserted in the roundel.

It is hoisted daily at Air Force establishments. It is also flown on Royal New Zealand Air Force aeroplanes carrying foreign and Commonwealth heads of state and heads of government, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Chiefs of Staff, ambassadors, and other distinguished people. Read more...

New Zealand Civil Air Ensign

Civil Aviation Ensign 

The New Zealand Civil Air Ensign was instituted on 16 November 1938 by an exercise of the royal prerogative. Governor-General Lord Galway submitted the original design to King George VI and, following his approval, the flag became ‘recognised as the proper national colours to be flown by British aircraft registered in New Zealand'.

It may be flown on any New Zealand aircraft, licensed aerodrome, or place authorised as an aerodrome. Read more...

Queen's personal flag (no longer used)

Queen's flag in NZ

The Queen's Personal Flag for New Zealand was adopted in 1962 to symbolise the fact that Queen Elizabeth II was the Queen of New Zealand.

It was flown only by Her Majesty when she was in New Zealand. Read more about the Queen's personal flag

How to cite this page

'Other official flags', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/flags-of-new-zealand/other-official-flags, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 12-Sep-2022