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Christchurch (New Zealand)

Ōtautahi

Last modified: 2020-06-25 by ian macdonald
Keywords: christchurch | lymphads: 4 (yellow) | mitre (yellow) | fleece (yellow) | garbe (yellow) |
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[ Christchurch, New Zealand ] image by Jens Pattke, 6 March 2016

See also:


Armorial flag

My copy of the City Flag was gifted to me by the late, former and longest serving mayor of Christchurch, Sir Hamish Hay. The flag is an armorial banner of the shield of arms. There is a description and small black & white image of coat of arms on the Christchurch City Council website. The International Civic Heraldry site provides the same information and a colour picture.

Quoting the Christchurch chronology in Hay Days, Sir Hamish Hay's autobiography, "1974-1989. The City of Christchurch flag was adopted in 1976."
James Nicholson, 22 September 2008

From a local newspaper, 14 November 1976:

Christchurch will soon have its first official ceremonial flag since 1863. The designer, Cr. William Brittenden, said at a meeting of the Christchurch City Council last evening that the flag topped by the First Four Ships would more properly be called a banner [of arms].
The reference to 1863 comes from a reference to one carried by "the foreman of city works", in the 1863 procession which marked the wedding of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). It was mentioned in a description of the procession on a broadsheet published on the day of the procession, and sold auction in Christchurch in November 1976.
John Moody, 4 May 2020

On the City Council website, we have the blazon

"Or on a Chevron Gules a Mitre between a Fleece and a Garbe of the first in base two Bars wavy Azure on a Chief of the last four Lymphads sails furled, also of the first And for the Crest on a Wreath Or and Azure a Kiwi proper". Supporters - "On either side a Pukeko proper".
And explanations: the four gold Lymphads in the blue chief represent the four ships which arrived at Lyttelton in December 1850 to begin the Christchurch settlement. The emblems on the red chevron are a gold mitre, representing the fact that Christchurch was planned as a Church of England settlement and was made a Bishop's See (with accompanying City status) in 1856; and a gold fleece and a gold sheaf, representing the "agricultural and pastoral pursuits of the surrounding province". The blue wavy bars beneath the chevron represent the two small rivers of the city - the Avon and the Heathcote.

In the coat of arms, but not the flag, the Kiwi is the flightless bird used as a national emblem, the pukeko or swamp hen a native bird founding and around the city. The flowers in the compartment are Celmesia Mackaui a type of mountain daisy found only in the Banks peninsula area. The motto "Fide condita, fructu beata, spe fortis" is translated "Founded in Faith, Rich in the Fulfillment thereof, Strong in the Hope for the Future", but also refers richness in the fruits of the earth and industry of the city, and boldness in the city's claims upon the future.

The arms were granted on 21 Feb 1949.
Jonathan Dixon, 22 September 2008

The pukeko is very unusual among New Zealand birds, in that it is native but not endemic - that is, it occurs naturally in New Zealand rather than being introduced, but is also found elsewhere in the world. This is very unusual for a land-based bird in New Zealand - most are either introduced or only found here. In the case of the pukeko, it is known in other parts of the world as the Egyptian gallinule, though this name is never used at all in New Zealand.

Interestingly, the same site lists days on which council buildings fly the "City of Christchurch flag" - see http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Handbook/FlagDays.asp
James Dignan, 22 September 2008

The City flag is displayed in the council debating chamber alongside the New Zealand flag. I have seen the City flag flying above the Civic Offices on three occasions.
James Nicholson, 26 September 2008

From a local newspaper, 14 November 1976:
"Christchurch will soon have its first official ceremonial flag since 1863. The designer, Cr. William Brittenden, said at a meeting of the Christchurch City Council last evening that the flag topped by the First Four Ships would more properly be called a banner [of arms]."

The reference to 1863 comes from a reference to one carried by "the foreman of city works", in the 1863 procession which marked the wedding of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). It was mentioned in a description of the procession on a broadsheet published on the day of the procession, and sold auction in Christchurch in November 1976.
John Moody, 4 May 2020


Logo flag

The flag I most associate with Canterbury is the Christchurch City Council flag (with a stylised road leading towards a silhouette of the Christchurch cathedral). The logo in the centre is identical to the one on the council webpage, if I remember correctly.
James Dignan, 3 June 2009


 
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