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Flag; Unknown; 1839; GH002925

Flag, Unknown, 1839, GH002925
About this object
This flag was made by a passenger 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 settlers and company agents who intended to buy land from Māori. 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.


The flag's design was based on a flag adopted by a group of Māori 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.


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.

Māori attachment to flag

Despite the adoption of the Union Jack, the 1834 flag continued to have a special relevance to Māori and to the Treaty of Waitangi.

See more at Te Papa's Collections online: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/ObjectDetails.aspx?oid=62255

Maker Role
sewer (textile worker)
Date Made
1295 x 1880 mm
Credit Line
Gift of Andrew Haggerty Richard Gillespie, 1967
Object Type
Object number



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