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Customs flag (New Zealand)

Last modified: 2016-12-16 by ian macdonald
Keywords: new zealand | nz customs service | hmc | blue ensign | stars: southern cross (red) | southern cross (red) | stars (red fimriated white) |
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[ New Zealand Customs flag ] image by Clay Moss, 27 April 2009

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Customs flag

The following appears in part 1 (administration) of the New Zealand Customs and Excise Act 1996 (available at the New Zealand Legislation site):

8. Customs flag
The Customs flag shall be the New Zealand Ensign with the addition in the fly of the words "NZ Customs Service" in bold characters.

Dean Thomas, 23 February 2007

The legislation does refer to the "fly", but the wording is very similar to that used in the regulation defining the Australian Customs Flag. I think it is quite likely the NZ Customs flag is a normal NZ national flag with the lettering placed in the lower half of the flag, somewhere to the hoist of the stars. It seems that "fly" has often been used in regulations to mean any part of a British ensign outside the Union Jack.
Jonathan Dixon, 1 October 2008

In my rendition of the New Zealand Customs Service flag/ensign [above], the lettering in terms of size, font and placement are right on target as per a photo of the flag that the service sent me.

Despite an initial glimpse indicating that the lettering is off centered, all of it actually lines up nicely relative to other components on the flag. The bottom of the lettering lines up exactly with the bottom of the lowest star. The end of the last "E" in "SERVICE lines up directly under the middle of the star closest to the fly [Delta Crucis]. The fly edge of the letter "N" also has an exact point which would be too verbose to describe, but has to do with the Scottish saltire in the canton.

I only have a photo of the flag from the front. I have written to see if the lettering reads correctly on the reverse side of the flag or backwards. The flag in the photo is all printed with the exception of the lettering which is appliquéd to the front.
Clay Moss, 6 October 2008

The NZ Customs Service flag can be seen at Auckland International Airport, or at least could be a couple of years ago – I haven't noticed it recently.

It was at the end of the row of flagpoles flying the flags of all the airlines operating into Auckland. It was the NZ Flag with the words “NZ Customs Service” in white written along the bottom of the flag between the hoist and the lowest red star, in an odd italic typeface.

It looked rather like someone in the PR dept at Customs had read the description in the NZ Customs Act and got a graphic designer to produce a flag that fitted the description.
Michael Sykes, 23 July 2009

Customs flag in 1966

[ 1966 NZ Customs flag ] image by Dean Thomas, 23 February 2007

The 1966 An Encyclopedia of New Zealand gives this information on the same department's flag at that time:

The New Zealand Customs Department Flag This is flown over the HM Customs Department's Building in Wellington and consists of the letters "H.M.C." in bold white capitals beneath the Union Jack on the New Zealand Ensign.
Dean Thomas, 23 February 2007

This flag was prescribed to distinguish Customs vessels and boats in Customs Regulations from 1914 to 1966, then for Customs ships and boats in the Customs Act from 1966 to 1996.
Jeff Thomson, 14 December 2016