The New Zealand flag was adopted in 1869. The flag was formally authorised by Governor Bowen, by Gazette of 23 October 1869, for use by Government ships. From 1869 the flag was increasingly flown on shore and by the public. It was accepted as the national flag.
In 1902 the flag was formally adopted by parliament as the national flag for all purposes.
The current flag has therefore been our flag since 1869, not 1902.
All of the publicity material produced by the Flag Consideration Panel refers to the flag having been adopted in 1902. Virtually nowhere is there even a reference to 1869. The public has been misled about the history of our flag.
The Flag Consideration Panel published one substantial information booklet, the 150 page “New Zealand flag facts”. This was written by Malcolm Mulholland, a well-known advocate of a new flag, and the only member of the panel with any knowledge of flags. The booklet is heavily biased in favour of a new flag. The panel has not published any equivalent material in favour of the current flag.
The New Zealand Flag Institute believes that the referendum process has been undermined by inaccurate and biased information.
New Zealand Flag Institute
14th March 2016