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Did you know New Zealand has two flags?

New Zealand’s first flag, Te Kara, was chosen and flew here at Waitangi exactly 185 years ago today and is still one of NZ’s official flags. Visiting schools are surprised to learn that NZ has two flags!

Te Kara’s official name is the Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand – Te Kara o Te Whakaminenga o Nga Hapu o Nu Tireni.

As trading grew between New South Wales and New Zealand, there arose the need for an official flag for ships. On 20 March 1834, NZ’s first British Resident, James Busby, held a gathering of 25 northern chiefs to vote on three designs for an official Māori flag. Hundreds of supporters, missionaries, settlers and the commanders of 10 British and 3 American ships were also present. Te Kara was the winning design and was hoisted here at Waitangi accompanied by a 21 gun salute from HMS Alligator.

An interesting fact is that Te Kara has never been decommissioned and is thus still an official flag of New Zealand, It flies at Waitangi at all times, along with the Union flag and the NZ flag which has been in use since 1902.