“We are not changing it”: A Reassessment of the History of the Flag

Paul Christoffel


According to conventional historical accounts, the New Zealand Ensign Act 1901 changed the national flag from the Union Jack to the current flag. This article shows that the 1901 Act did not change the national flag; it merely reconfirmed that the New Zealand ensign was ‘the recognised flag of the colony’. During 1900 the public became confused when an apparent rival national flag emerged thanks to a bureaucratic bungle. The 1901 Act abolished the rival flag, which was highly unpopular due to its unsightly white disc.


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