Recently there has been a lot of comment on social media as to the whys and wherefores on who is able to fly the New Zealand White Ensign. There are those who are of the opinion that because they served in the navy they can fly it at home and that is sufficient justification. There are others who believe that there are no rules surrounding the New Zealand White Ensign and they will display it/fly it in any manner they deem appropriate and at the other end of the spectrum are those who know the regulations and rules surrounding the NZWE and sadly dismiss them and flout the rules imposed under Government.
For those of you that are interested the New Zealand White Ensign was instituted under Government legislation known as the New Zealand White Ensign Regulations of 1968 These regulations clearly state that this ensign may be worn by ships of New Zealand Naval Forces and flown on Naval Establishments in accordance with Naval Instructions. There is nothing in these rules which allow ‘Joe Public’ to fly this flag.
These Naval Instructions include:
Dignity of the New Zealand National Flag/New Zealand White Ensign
1. The NZ Flag is the national symbol of this country and accordingly it should be honoured and treated with respect. To use, display, destroy, or damage the flag in or within view of a public place with the intention of dishonouring it is an offence, as is the placement of any letter, emblem, or representation on the flag. The NZ Flag may be displayed by any citizen and hence in any mess, club, office or home etc but only in certain specified fashions whereas, other national emblems such as the NZWE, RNZAF Ensign etc, may only be displayed with specific approval and only in strictly controlled circumstances.
2. The NZ Flag and NZWE should only be displayed in a manner befitting their importance as the National emblem or the ensign of the RNZN. They should never be displayed in the following ways:
a. as a covering of a statue, monument or plaque for an unveiling ceremony;
b. as a table or seat cover; unless the NZ Flag is used to cover a table and ashes onboard one of HMNZ Ships, prior to committal;
c. as a masking for boxes, barriers or intervening space between floor and ground level on a dais or platform; or
d. allowed to fall onto or lie upon the ground.
3. Instructions for parading the NZWE are contained in NZBR 23 Article 9102.
4. The CN has given approval to allow the NZWE to be used as a pall for a casket at funerals. The upper canton should be draped over the left shoulder of the deceased. The NZWE is to be removed before the casket is lowered into the grave or at a crematorium immediately after the committal.
Request from Ex-Service and Civilian Organisations
Ex Service organisations may parade the NZWE in a procession, fly it at outdoor functions of a service nature or on other ceremonial occasions with the approval of the CN. HQNZDF (NAVY) will direct the approved timings and correct manner of flying the NZWE.
So the long and the short of it is that unless you have specific authority from the Chief of Navy then you are not authorised to fly the NZWE. If you wish to fly the NZWE then please have the decency to request permission of the Chief of Navy in the first instance.
Here is an example of how the NZWE is currently being used as posted on social media.
and another from a makeshift flagpole