Last modified: 2021-12-11 by ian macdonald
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The flag of Auckland is a banner of arms:
Tomislav Šipek, 6 March 2018
Auckland’s coat of arms was adopted in 1911. Its arms consist of a cornucopia
(horn of plenty), reflecting the wealth of the land; a pick and shovel, symbols
of mining in the region; and a sailing ship, showing the city’s close
relationship with the sea. The closed visor in the crest represents Auckland
City’s status as a corporation and the flowering plant is native flax. The
supporters are kiwi (the national bird), and the motto is ‘Advance’.
David Thorns and Ben Schrader, 'City history and people - Towns to cities', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
The New Zealand flax is Phormium tenax J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. (Maori, harakeke).
Ivan Sache, 6 March 2018
There follows below a series of articles unearthed by John Moody concerning the flag of the city of Auckland. New Zealand.
From the Auckland Star, 27 August 1954:
The Aucklanders Diary, by Mac Vincent:
“Steps are being taken to have a flag properly made and bearing the city arms, for display at the town hall on appropriate occasions. From the armorial bearings of the city the crest and the supporters will be eliminated in accordance with the design approved by the College of heralds, London. That means that from the armorial bearings, the arms or shield part will be retained. Possibly the flag now carried on the mayor's car, at present bearing the word, “Mayor,” will later be changed to accord with the city flag.
When some time ago the time clerk, Mr. T. W. M. Ashby, was in London he discussed the question with one of the four pursuivants of the college. when he returned, he sent the Master of Sinclair a sketch of the proposed flag. In his reply the master wrote, “I'm afraid the sketch as it stands is incorrect. A flag of this sort should not contain the chief achievement, i.e., it should not contain the crest, supporters, and motto. The arms alone should be showing, and should fill the complete flag. In view of the fact that it is most important to have a flag of this nature heraldically correct, I have taken it upon myself to have a coloured working sketch of the arms done as they should appear on the flag. This will be in full detail so that your flag makers can work from it.”
Then on October 19th 1955, I think in the New Zealand Herald:
Auckland may soon have its own specially designed flag flying above the town hall. The City Council has obtained from the Herald's College, London, a layout of the flag, which is based on the city's coat of arms.
The design shows a cornucopia on a blue background and pick and shovel on a red background in separate panels at the top. A sailing ship under full canvas, on a white background, occupies the lower two-thirds of the flag.
A three-yard flag will probably be necessary to make the heraldic symbols visible from the street. Difficulty has been experienced in getting the flag woven locally.”
Further articles regarding the adoption of an Auckland Civic/City Flag are
from April 1973:
“No flap expected over Auckland’s own flag”
in a country which has already known upward of 1500 different flags the possibility of the Auckland City Council adopting a flag of its own should cause little stir. The city already has a design for a flag prepared for it about twenty years ago by the College of Arms, London. The design never evolved into a flag. However, it is likely to be put before the council again by the town clerk, Mr G. O. Sians, before any decision is made to look for an alternative.
The subject of a city flag was raised with the College of arms about 23 years ago by the town clerk while on a visit to London. The idea then was for the city's coat of arms documented in 1911 to be used in the centre off the flag, on a blue field. However, the College of Arms did not approve. A letter to the council in 1952 from the Master of Sinclair, Portcullis, said: “A flag of this sort should not contain the complete Achievement; That is, it should not contain the Crest, Supporters and Motto. The Arms alone should be shown and should fill the complete flag.”
The cost was to prove the stumbling block, whatever was thought of the design. Quotations were sought in New Zealand and abroad, and it seemed that the cheapest place to have the flag made might be in India. However, even from India the cost of a flag was ₤100, without duty or freight; and a small flag for the mayoral car was priced at ₤45. These quotations were for flags embroidered on both sides. At this point, in 1956, enthusiasm for the flag died. However, Mr Sims, who has now been asked to produce again a “suitable design,” is not only in favour of a city flag, but favours much more flag flying in the city. “Compared with overseas cities, where dozens of flags, including house flags, are flown on commercial buildings, Auckland seems colourless to me,” he says. “Many new buildings do not even have flagpoles.” He concedes that the town hall is not a notable flag flyer except on the official state occasions, to which the council has added a few of its own, but he says the practice up to a few years ago, or flying four flags at the apex of the Old Town hall was discontinued only because people kept cutting the halyards.
How often the new flag would be flown at the town hall and who else might be given permission to fly it, and when, will have to be decided. The flag may be protected, as is the city crest, like a number of other flags including those of royalty. However, Mr Sims says he would personally like to see it flown at the city headquarters every day, and available for flying elsewhere as well. If the flag is to be flown daily, it will have to cost well under $200.
From the Auckland Scrapbook, 10 March 1981
Auckland, a city of festivals and flags… That was a part of Mayor Mr Colin Kay’s election campaign last year, and he has set the fashion by raising the City Council’s flag over the doorway of the Auckland Administration Building. Mr Kay said current campaigns to stimulate pride in New Zealand were having their effect and the City Council was to do its part. “There are a lot more flags around the city than there used to be. In other countries, people are very flag-conscious and I think we need to promote them here,” said Mr Kay. “Seeing flags gives people inspiration. I know I’ve always been inspired when I have seen flags in other countries,” he said.
Auckland City Council flags have also been mounted on the car used by Mr Kay for official functions. The flag, designed in 1952, has a cornucopia in the top left-hand corner, to represent Auckland’s wealth; a pick and shovel, representative of New Zealand’s mining days, in the top right; and the rest pictures a sailing ship.
Finally, from a city document Produced by the Marketing and Public Affairs
Division explaining the civic insignia:
In 1910, the mayor, Lemuel John Bagnall, applied to the Royal College of Arms for a coat of arms and supporters for Auckland city (the supporters in this case being the kiwis on either side of the shield). In October, 1911, the warrants for the arms and for the supporters were granted but it was not until 1969 that the arms were united with the supporters to form the full Auckland City Council coat of arms.
The first quarter of the shield contains a cornucopia or horn of plenty in recognition of the agricultural prosperity of the district. In the second quarter are a pick and shovel representing early mining and construction activities. The sailing ship at the base of the shield signifies the relationship between Auckland and the sea and the importance of Auckland as a port.
Above the shield is a steel helmet turned sideways with closed visor. In heraldic terms this represents either an untitled person or a corporation such as the Auckland City Council. The mantling flowing from the top of the helmet represents the cloth originally protecting the crusading knight from the sun. Its ragged appearance is thought to indicate the sword cuts received in battle.
On top of the helmet is a crown in the form of a wall with battlements to signify a local authority. This element is known as the crest. Arising out of the crest is a type of flax commonly found in the Auckland Region and called Phormium tenax. The kiwis were chosen at supporters because they are native only to New Zealand.
A coat of arms may be used only by the grantee except where special permission is given by the grantee. The Auckland City Council has a bylaw governing its use.
The Auckland City Council had no flag until 1980 when Councillor Trevor Rogers donated one to the city to coincide with the New Zealand Summer Games in January. The flag does not illustrate the complete coat of arms but only the particulars on the shield which have had to be altered in shape to fit the dimensions of the flag. The detail and colours remain the same. The council flag is subject to the same bylaw as the coat of arms.
John Moody, 15 November 2021
I've just been watching a news item on the inauguration of the new "Supercity"
Council for Auckland in New Zealand (the four cities which make up the Auckland
Urban Area have been combined into one, controlled by a single council - a
similar scheme to the UK's Greater London).
During the news item there was a brief view of a city council flag - unfortunately not long enough to get a clear image of it, but enough for the basic details. The flag is blue, with a stylised polutukawa flower in white towards the hoist, and loads of writing printed across the rest of the flag (the top line said "Auckland City Council", but the image wasn't there long enough to make out the rest. An image of the pohutukawa emblem can be seen at http://www.designassembly.org.nz/new-auckland-council-logo-is-revealed, though I have yet to find an image of the flag online.
James Dignan, 31 October 2010
The usual sport’s fans flags are quartered white and navy blue.
James Dignan, 29 March 1999
There are, however, no standardised
designs for provincial flags.
James Dignan, 12 September 1996
White, Blue and Red
are the colours that are used in regional
sports uniforms, particularly those of
Robbie Ellis, 10 March 1999
The blue used by Auckland is a very dark colour
— it appears almost black from the distance;
it is much darker than the one on the national
I've heard it called "midnight blue", which
is probably a pretty good description.
James Dignan, 5 April 1999 and 6 May 1999
image by Manuel Gabino, 29 December 2013
Auckland City (NZL - OFC) competed in the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco in 2013,
using a flag with the shield centred.
Manuel Gabino, 29 December 2013