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The World of Flags

Explore the World of Flags to find out about the Union Jack, Commonwealth Games, and other flags and their design.  Go to: Te Ao o ngā Kara to find similar activities in te reo Māori »

Our flag

The Southern Cross is an important group of stars that can only be seen in this part of the world. These stars are seen on flags like those from New Zealand and Australia because they are from the southern hemisphere. Can you tell the difference between the New Zealand and the Australian flag?

  • Check out this website and answer these questions:
    • How many stars does the Australian Flag have?
    • How many stars does the New Zealand flag have?
    • Which flag has white stars?

OR -

Use these instructions to make your own New Zealand flag.

Make your flag and fly it when New Zealand plays an international sports game!

Pacific Flag Families

Did you know that years ago the French, American, and English moved into the Pacific? You can tell which islands the French, American or English lived on by looking at their flags.

  • Open the document below and use information from this website to help you put as many flags as possible into the flag families.

Word icon. Pacific flag families (Word, 76 KB)

Flag the day

Flags can be flown to tell us when there is a special day. What flags would you fly on these days?

Famous flags

Wiki has forgotten that flags are not just for countries but can be used to send a clear message in any language. How many famous flags do you know?

  • Open the word document and match the description of the flag with the correct one.

Word icon. Famous flags (Word, 69 KB)

Flags at Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840. The large number of flags there shows the importance of the day.

World flag families

The New Zealand and Australian flags are so similar because they belong to the same flag family. Countries that are close together in distance and history can show this relationship in their flags.

Wiki has been surfing the net and found eight different flag families from around the world. Help her to complete the activity.

  • Check out the flag designs from all countries of the world to find flags from around the world that are similar: 

Flags at Waitangi (advanced)

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840. Do you think they used flags to show the importance of the day?

Sew a new New Zealand flag

Wiki thinks it is time to change the New Zealand flag to make it look modern.

Wiki can help you to design your flag before you sew it.

  • Have a go at designing your own flag.
  • Print your flag, then open this document and follow the instructions carefully to make your flag.

    Word icon. Make a new flag (Word, 45 KB)

  • Take a photo of your flag flying.

Union Jack

Did you know the cross on the New Zealand flag is called the Union Jack?

Olympic flag

Another important sporting flag is the Olympic flag. Can you remember what it looks like?

  • Open this page with a picture of the Olympic flag.
    • Print the flag or copy and save to a word document.
    • Colour the rings in the right colours.
  • Find out what the colours on the Olympic flag stand for.

Boat flags

Wiki has just learnt there is a flag alphabet. She likes to use the International Signal Flags Translator to write her name with flags.

    • Write your name with flags using the translator to help you.
    • Use International Code Flags to help Wiki find out what the Flag message says. Each flag stands for a letter.

Word icon. Flag message (Word, 224 KB)

History of the New Zealand flag

In a short space of time New Zealand has had many different flags.

OR -

  • Make a quick power point presentation showing the flag, the name, and the meaning.

Coat of arms

Did you know the 'New Zealand Coat of Arms' is used in your New Zealand passport?

  • Ed found a picture of 'The Queen's Personal Flag For New Zealand'. Can you see any similarities to the coat of arms?
  • Ed says a coat of arms is a picture which sums up what New Zealand is famous for. Design your own personal coat of arms to show everyone who you are, where you come from, and what you are good at.

Explorers' flags

Famous explorers used their country's flag to show they were the first people to discover a different part of the world. When Sir Edmond Hillary climbed Mt Everest he used the Union Jack because he was part of a British climbing team.

Flying a flag

Ed needs your help to find the right answer to these statements about flags.

Hot Debate

Some people think that the New Zealand flag should be changed. What do you think?

  • Talk to and interview at least three other people to find out what they think. Ask each person the same questions:
    • Why should we have a national flag?
    • Do you think the flag should change or stay the same?
    • What is your reason for saying this?
  • Open the document:

    Word icon. Hot debate (Word, 32 KB)

  • Read some of the other comments.
  • Copy and paste them under the right heading on the following page.
  • Add any new comments from your interviews to the chart.
  • Use these ideas to start debating the topic: 'That the New Zealand flag needs to be changed':

Get together with 4–6 friends who have also thought about this topic and have done the Hot Debate template.

One half of your group will argue that we need to change the flag. The other half will argue that we don't need to change the flag.

For more help with debating, see New Zealand Toastmasters