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New Zealand Olympic Committee

Olympic Games, Olympics

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: olympic games | international olympic committee | international sports organization | ring | rings | australasia | united states | sweden | australia | austria | new zealand |
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[The Olympic flag.]
image by Dean Thomas, 7 August 2002

See also:

Description of the flag

On a white field without borders, five rings in blue, yellow, black, green, and red interlaced from left to right forming a trapezium with the blue, black and red rings are at the top and the yellow and green rings at the bottom. Superimposed on the blue and black rings is a depiction of New Zealand's national sporting emblem: The Silver Fern.

Origin and Meaning of the NZOC flag

The flag in it's present form adopted 1994.
The original logo (Olympic Rings with the Silver Fern inset) was designed in 1979 as a marketing symbol for the then-named New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association.

The Flag of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (1979-1994)

image by Dean Thomas, 7 August 2002

This flag represented the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association until the name change to New Zealand Olympic Committee took place in 1994.  The Olympic Rings and Silver Fern were colored white on a black background (black and white are New Zealand's national sporting colors).  This flag was used by the New Zealand Team at the Games of the XXII Olympiad in Moscow, USSR, when the New Zealand Government forbade the delegation to use the New Zealand National Flag as a protest against the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.

During the opening ceremony (July 19, 1980: a black horizontal flag, with all the Olympic Rings in the middle in white, with a laurel palm in it (see video at 4:22). The flag is seen here.
Esteban Rivera, 14 April 2012

[Tentative NZ Olympic flag.]
image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 17 April 2012

While we have James Dignan telling us in 1997 that "The New Zealand Olympic Committee uses the five ringed Olympic flag, with a white silver fern leaf (outlined in black) in base, overlapping the yellow and green rings.", our images, actually show the fern in chief, overlapping the blue, black and purple rings.
Indeed, the latter is how the flag appears in>, at <>, with the fern over the Olympic Symbol, overlapping the blue and black rings. (I found no photographs where the fern was overlapping the purple ring, though.
I couldn't find a photograph of the former, but since we're even given the details about the overlapping, I assume it's a description of a real flag. I have therefore made a tentative image, by carefully hacking Dean's 2002 image to bits. It's likely that the fern would have been slightly more horizontal in such a design, though.
I have not found any regulations that define the NZOC's emblem or its flag. I did notice that their website is rather based on the emblem on a black background. I'm not sure whether this means that that version too holds official status. It does show the fern over the Olympic Symbol, as do our depictions of it, which makes it more curious if the next flag indeed had the fern below it.I hope there's a way to determine the time line for these flags.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 17 April 2012