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New Zealand company flag

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Copyright Reproduced courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Creator Unidentified
Identifiers Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa number GH002925 TLF resource R2035
Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

This is an image of the flag of the New Zealand Company. It is made of wool bunting and linen, and measures 129.5 cm x 188 cm. It has the red St George Cross on a white background and, in the top-left corner, a smaller red St George Cross on a blue background with four white stars.

Educational value:
  • This asset is a significant historical artefact of the New Zealand Company - the New Zealand Company was formed in London, England in 1837 to promote the colonisation of New Zealand, according to the systematic colonisation theory of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, and to sell land to new settlers and speculators wishing to emigrate to New Zealand.
  • It was raised as the official flag of New Zealand on 30 September 1839 at Petone, near Wellington, by New Zealand Company colonialists who had travelled to Petone on board the Company's ships 'Oriental', 'Aurora' and 'Adelaide' - the flying of the flag was considered to indicate land ownership in New Zealand in 1839, even though the British Government had already indicated that the New Zealand Company was operating illegally and any land title claims could not be guaranteed as legal.
  • It shows that the design of the flag was based on the St George Cross, the official flag of England, as well as incorporating elements of the 1835 flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand.
  • It was lowered on 30 June 1840, after the Treaty of Waitangi had been signed, and replaced by the Union Jack, the official flag of the United Kingdom.
  • It is an example of a flag made by a ship's sail-maker - the sail-maker was on board the New Zealand Company vessel 'Tory' on its voyage to New Zealand in May 1839.

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