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Object: New Zealand Company flag

This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence

Title New Zealand Company flag
Production Unknown (sewer (textile worker)), 1839
Materials wool, linen
Classification flags
Technique sewing
Dimensions Secondary Support: 1390mm (Height) x 1930mm (Width) x 45mm (Depth)
Overall: 1295mm (Height) x 1880mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Gift of Andrew Haggerty Richard Gillespie, 1967
Registration number GH002925

This flag was made on the Tory during its voyage from England to New Zealand in 1839 and raised at Petone on 30 September. The Tory carried New Zealand Company agents who intended to buy land from Mäori. William Wakefield, the principal agent, referred to the flag as the 'colours of New Zealand' and the Tory gave it a twenty-one gun salute. It is possibly one of several used by the Company.

Design
The flag's design was based on a flag adopted by a group of Mäori chiefs at Waitangi in 1834 when New Zealand was an independent territory. The flag came to be known as the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, a term derived from an 1835 declaration of the country's independence by a group of northern chiefs.

Significance
The flag was the New Zealand Company's acknowledgement of the independent status of the country. After chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown in February 1840, the Union Jack was used as the national flag. When the Company continued to use the original New Zealand flag, Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson saw this as a challenge to the Crown's authority and dispatched an armed party to lower it on 30 June 1840. The next day the Union Jack was raised and British sovereignty proclaimed.

Mäori attachment to flag
Despite the adoption of the Union Jack, the 1834 flag continues to have a special relevance to Mäori and to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Related information

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