|This page uses Creative Commons licensed content from Wikipedia. (view authors)|
The flag of New Zealand is a defaced Blue Ensign with the Union Flag in the canton, and four red stars with white borders to the right. The stars' pattern represents the asterism within the constellation of, the Southern Cross.
As well as the National Flag, the NZ Blue Ensign also serves as the Naval Jack, Government Ensign, and the Vehicle Flag for the Prime Minister, Government Ministers, and New Zealand Ambassadors/High Commissioners.
New Zealand's first flag, the flag of the, was adopted in 1834, six years before New Zealand became a British colony following the signing of the in 1840. Chosen by an assembly of Māori chiefs at Waitangi in 1834, the flag was of a St George's Cross with another St. George's Cross (albeit with black fumbriation) in the canton containing four eight-pointed stars on a blue field. After the formation of the colony in 1840, British ensigns began to be used. The current flag was designed and adopted for use on Colonial ships in 1869, was quickly adopted as New Zealand's national flag, and given statutory recognition in 1902.
For several decades there has beenabout changing the flag. In 2015 and 2016, on a flag change took place with voting on the second final stage closing on 24 March 2016.
Over 10,000 designs were submitted by the public. From these, the Flag Consideration Panel created aof 40 flags, which was then further narrowed down to a shortlist of four (see below). A fifth design, "Red Peak", was added after a campaign on social media.
The first referendum in November–December 2015 let people rank these five designs in order of preference. The winner,'s "Silver Fern (Black, White & Blue)", took on the current flag in the second referendum in March 2016. The country voted to keep the existing flag by 57% to 43%.