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New Zealand Coat of Arms


Last modified: 2013-06-15 by ian macdonald
Keywords: new zealand | aotearoa | blue ensign | southern cross | stars: southern cross | stars: 4 | star (fimbriated) |
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Coat of Arms

[ New Zealand Coat of Arms ]image by Sam Lockton, 28 September 2002
From an original image on this web site:

The base of the New Zealand coat of arms (the whole achievement on which the supporters stand) consists of two fern leaves. It was granted on 26th August 1911.
David Prothero, 09 Sep 1998

New Zealand used the British coat of arms until 1911, when its own armorial bearings were authorised. The coat of arms was revised in 1956, replacing the motto 'Onward' with the words 'New Zealand' and changing the crest from a rampant lion to the St. Edward's Crown, with which the Queen was crowned in 1953.

The centrepoint of the coat of arms is a quartered shield - the first quarter depicts four stars as representative of the Southern Cross; the second, a fleece representing the farming industry; the third, a wheat sheaf representing agriculture; and the fourth, two hammers representing mining. Down the centre of the shield are three ships, symbolising the importance of sea trade.

On the left is a Pakeha (European) woman holding a New Zealand flag, and on the right a Maori chieftain holding a taiaha (Maori staff).

James Dignan, 29 August 2003, quoting from the 1989 Air New Zealand Almanac

See also:

Previous Coat of Arms

[ New Zealand's First Coat of Arms ] image submitted by James Dignan, 29 August 2003


1) The base of the arms did not contain fern leaves prior to 1956. The earlier version had some form of heraldic mantling.

2) The supporters were different. Rather than facing each other, they faced forward. Furthermore, the woman was red-headed rather than blonde, and her hair as tied in a bun. There is actually a tradition in my partner's family that the model for the female supporter was her grandmother, Alice Spragg, who was a well known Wellington socialite during the early years of the 20th century. She would have been 29 in 1911, and having seen photos of her, I'm willing to believe it is her.
James Dignan, 29 August 2003