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Christchurch (New Zealand)


Last modified: 2010-02-12 by jonathan dixon
Keywords: christchurch | lymphads: 4 (yellow) | mitre (yellow) | fleece (yellow) | garbe (yellow) |
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Description of the 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 CoA 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

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 Fulfilment 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 citys claims upon the future.

The arms were granted on 21 Feb 1949.
Jonathan Dixon, 22 Sepetember 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 NZ.

Interestingly, the same site lists days on which council buildings fly the "City of Christchurch flag" - see [page no longer exists - ed.]
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 Sepetember 2008