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Civil Air Ensign (New Zealand)

Last modified: 2013-06-03 by ian macdonald
Keywords: civil air ensign | new zealand | cross (blue fimbriated white) | stars: 4 (red) | southern cross (red) |
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[ New Zealand Civil Air Ensign ] 1:2 image by Clay Moss, 18 January 2009


See also:


Usage and History

New Zealand has used an analogue to the British Civil Air Flag. This flag was adopted for use on 16 November 1938. It has generally fallen into disuse in favor of the national flag.
Stuart Park, 18 December 1995

The laws governing the flying of the flag follow:

19.5 Civil aviation ensign
(a) The design and colours of the New Zealand Civil Air Ensign shall be those specified in Appendix A.
(b) The New Zealand Civil Air Ensign may be flown—
  (1) by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand on its buildings and aircraft; or
  (2) on any New Zealand registered aircraft; or
  (3) at any aerodrome; or
  (4) by an airline owning a New Zealand registered aircraft upon or in proximity to any building occupied by the airline as its principal office or place of business; or
  (5) by any person to whom permission in writing is granted for the purpose by the Director at such places and subject to such conditions as may be specified.
(c) Except as provided in this rule, no person shall fly the New Zealand Civil Air Ensign on any aircraft or on any ship, or boat, or on any building, or elsewhere in New Zealand.

These rules in respect of the ensign have not changed since the version of the rules which came into force on 01 April 1997.

Sources:
(1) Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA), Civil Aviation Rules, Part 19.5, CAA Consolidation, 23 October 2008, as consulted CAA web site, 15 January 2009
(2) ibid., (same internal references and numbering system), date of issue 17 February 1997, in force 01 April 1997
Colin Dobson, 15 January 2009


Design and Construction

The NZ Civil Air Ensign is similar to the British Civil Air Flag, a light blue air force ensign with a dark blue cross, fimbriated white, except that it adds four red five-pointed stars in the shape of the Southern Cross in the lower fly quarter.
Stuart Park, 18 December 1995

According to Christian Fogd Pedersen's Flaggor i färg, 1973 [ped73], the colours of the Civil Air ensign should be the same as the Air Force ensign.
Marcus Wendel, 15 September 1999

The description of the flag in the Civil Aviation Rules follows:

Appendix A — Civil Air Ensign

The Ensign shall comprise upon a field of light blue, a dark-blue latin cross, in breadth eight-sixtieths of the hoist of the ensign, bordered by a white band two-sixtieths of the hoist of the Ensign; in the first canton the Union Flag; and in the fourth canton the Southern Cross of four five-pointed stars coloured red.

The centres of the stars forming the long limb of the cross shall be on a vertical line through the centre of the fourth canton and equidistant from its upper and lower edges, and the distance apart of the centres of the stars shall be sixteen-sixtieths of the hoist of the Ensign.

The centres of the stars forming the short limb of the cross shall be on a line intersecting the vertical limb at an angle of 82 degrees therewith and rising from near the lower inner corner of the canton towards the upper and outer corner, its point of intersection with the vertical line being distant from the centre of the uppermost star of the cross, five and one-half sixtieths of the hoist of the Ensign. The distance of the centre of the star nearest the outer edge of the canton from the point of intersection shall be equal to fivesixtieths of the hoist of the Ensign, and the distance of the centre of the star nearest the inner edge of the canton from the point of intersection shall be equal to five and one-half sixtieths of the hoist of the Ensign.

The star nearest the outer edge of the canton shall measure three and onehalf sixtieths, the stars at the top and bottom of the cross and that nearest the inner edge of the canton shall each measure four-sixtieths of the hoist of the Ensign across their respective points.

These rules in respect of the ensign have not changed since the version of the rules which came into force on 01 April 1997.

The colours referred to are simply “light blue” and “dark blue”.

Sources:
(1) Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA), Civil Aviation Rules, Part 19, Appendix A, CAA Consolidation, 23 October 2008, as consulted CAA web site, 15 January 2009
(2) ibid., (same internal references and numbering system), date of issue 17 February 1997, in force 01 April 1997
Colin Dobson, 15 January 2009

I have been in touch with the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand to clarify if the Southern Cross on the ensign is supposed to have white borders around the red stars or not. After emailing Graham Boxall, the Senior Policy Advisor for the CAA, his reply confirmed that the ensign is to only use red stars (without white borders) as stated by the Rule 19 of the CA policy. His email also contained the description from Appendix A of Civial Aviation Rule 19 on the ensign - outlining that the stars are just red - not red with white borders.
“jayswipe”, 15 January 2009

Traditionally, “Commonwealth” civil air ensigns incorporating the Union Jack have been “RAF” blue. The 2 or 3 New Zealand civil air ensigns that I have seen were made up with RAF blue bunting. All physical evidence suggests that New Zealand has always intended their civil and air force color to be RAF blue whether mentioned in the description or not.
Clay Moss, 16-17 January 2009

It seems quite clear that the description in Appendix A is a fairly crude adaptation of the official description of the national flag.
Jonathan Dixon 17 January 2009

[The construction of the NZ Civil Air Ensign] is also rather more logical that its British equivalent, and makes the width of the blue cross exactly the same as that of the St George and Fimbriation on the Union Flag. As a quick comparison the cross on the UK civil air ensign (according to the 1939 Flaggenbuch [neu39]) is 1/10 the flag, fimbriated 1/3 the cross, making it 1/6 overall, whilst the cross on the NZ ensign is 2/15 the flag, fimbriated 1/4 the cross, making it 1/5 the flag overall.

The NZ version also makes the Union Flag a nice sensible 4:9, whereas in our weird and wonderful effort it comes out at 15:33
Chris Southworth, 18 January 2009


Common version with white-fimbriated stars

[ New Zealand Civil Air Ensign with fimbriated stars ] 1:2 image by António Martins, 25 March 2000

Several New Zealand Government websites illustrate the Civil Air Ensign with red and white stars [as in the national flag]. Virtually every other illustration any of us has seen (starting from way back when) shows the stars as red and white. I have seen 3 NZ Civil Air Ensigns in my life time, all made in NZ by companies. Two had red and white stars. So the idea that the stars should be red and white is not so far fetched.
Clay Moss, 17 January 2009


 
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