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Niue

Last modified: 2012-02-10 by ian macdonald
Keywords: niue | yellow ensign | new zealand | oceania | stars: 5 | star (yellow) |
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[Flag of Niue] 1:2 image by António Martins, 2 February 2000


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About Niue 

Niue (population 1,751 (1992)) is a self governing territory in free association with New Zealand (similar to the Cook Islands I wrote about earlier). Niue is fully responsible for its internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for foreign affairs. Niue achieved this status in 1974. Its "yellow ensign" flag was adopted in 1975.
Stuart Park, 15 December 1995


The Yellow Ensign

More information on this flag, the "Yellow Ensign":

Crampton's "World of Flags" states that the yellow field is to symbolize "the warm friendship between Niue and New Zealand", whose colony Niue is.

Reading between the lines some, I gather this flag was something of a tribute to New Zealand: they wanted something yellow for the friendship angle, and they wanted to honor their host country by making the flags similar...so they made it a yellow field and moved the five stars usually found on the NZ flag to the canton.

Taken this way, I'm not even sure that the islanders even considered Britain at all in "defacing" the Union Flag. To them, it was part of NZ's flag, just a pretty, striped canton, and they innocently modified it for their own friendly purposes.

With any luck, the British won't be floating battleships into Alofi (Niue's capital) and demanding of the confused islanders that they remove those stars... :-)

Steve `Scooter' Kramer, 9 June 1996


The Niue Consulate in Auckland (New Zealand) has provided some official details about the Niue flag. It reads:

The Niue National Flag shall be described as follows :

"The Niue National Flag shall be a golden yellow Flag, bearing in the upper canton of the hoist thereof the Union Flag, commonly known as the Union Jack, displaying two five-pointed yellow stars on the vertical line and on the horizontal line thereof separated by a blue disc containing a larger yellow star."

And it shall mean:

"Golden yellow" represents the bright sunshine of Niue and the warm feelings of the Niuean people towards New Zealand and her people.
"The Union Flag, commonly known as the Union Jack" represents that Niue was a British Protectorate, proclaimed on 19 October 1900 after petitioning by the Kings and Chiefs of Niue to Great Britain for the Union Flag to be flown in Niue as the symbol of protection.
"The four small stars" represent the Southern Cross and New Zealand under whose administration Niue was placed by Great Britain in 1901 and as well the continuing close relationship between Niue and New Zealand.
"The larger star within the blue disc" represents the self-governing status of Niue, standing alone within the deep blue sea.

Stuart Park, 28 June 1996

I assume that the height (not circle's diameter) of the stars on the horizontal crossbar and the width of the stars on the vertical crossbar are identical to the St. George cross' thickness, and that the central star and circle have a diameter identical to the St. George cross' thickness, including fimbriations.
António Martins 2 February 2000

If this is so, wouldn't that make the two pairs of stars differently sized on the bars of the St. George's cross? I think that at least as reasonable an assuption as the first one would be that the fours stars are equal. Maybe the fours stars are somewhat less then SGC width? Would half the central star diameter fit? It is hard to tell from any small sited image available to me.
Željko Heimer, 5 February, 2000

A Niuean source provides us with legislation regarding the Niue flag. It was adopted by the Niue Flag Act 1975, 1975/16 – 1975 (unlike other acts, not more precise date provided here then simply 1975). It does not provide any drawings, nor dimensions of the flag and its part, but it provides explanation of the symbolic. It is short enough to be quoted in extenso (Niue Laws | Tau Fakatufono-tohi a Niue, Legislation as at December 2006, Volume 3 | Tohi 3,Statutes, N-Z, Government of Niue, Alofi, 2006, pp. 1365-1366, http://www.gov.nu/wb/media/Volume%203.pdf):

Niue Flag Act 1975
1975/16 – 1975

To provide for the establishment and use of a Niue Flag
1 Short title
This is the Niue Flag Act 1975.

2 Niue Flag
(1) The Niue Flag shall be the flag described in the Schedule.
(2) The Niue Flag is hereby declared to be the recognised flag of Niue.
(3) Any other flag hitherto prescribed or used as the recognised flag of Niue is hereby declared to be disestablished in Niue.

3 Regulations
Cabinet may make regulations prescribing the circumstances in which and the conditions subject to which the Niue Flag may be flown.

4 Offences
Every person who defaces the Niue Flag by placing any sign, representation, or letter thereon commits an offence, and is liable to a fine not exceeding 5 penalty units or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.

Schedule
THE NIUE FLAG
The Niue Flag shall be described as follows:
“The Niue National Flag shall be a golden yellow flag, bearing on the upper canton of the hoist thereof the Union Flag, commonly known as the Union Jack, displaying 2 five-pointed yellow stars on the vertical line and on the horizontal line thereof separated by a blue disc containing a larger five-pointed yellow star.”
AND IT SHALL MEAN:
Golden yellow represents the bright sunshine of Niue and the warm feelings of the Niuean people towards New Zealand and her people. The Union Flag, commonly known as the Union Jack represents that Niue was a British Protectorate, proclaimed on 19 October 1900 after petitioning by the Kings and Chiefs of Niue to Great Britain for the Union Flag to be flown in Niue as the symbol of protection. The four small stars represent the Southern Cross and New Zealand under whose administration Niue was placed by Great Britain in 1901 and as well reflecting the continuing close relationship between Niue and New Zealand. The larger star within the blue disc represents the self-governing status of Niue, standing alone within the deep blue sea.

BTW, on the page 1586 in the text of another act (Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1996) it is mentioned "... by vessels carrying the flag of Niue..." which would imply that the flag of Niue is indeed used not only on land but also by the vessels registered in Niue, therefore it is indeed a yellow ensign (and not CS-/--- as "conservatively" indicated on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Niue and World Flag Database, http://www.flags.net/NIUE.htm).
Željko Heimer, 21 January 2012


Customs Ensign

The Customs Act 1966, 1966/19 – 1 January 1967 (Niue Laws | Tau Fakatufono-tohi a Niue, Legislation as at December 2006, Volume 2 | Tohi 2,Statutes, Constitutional-M, Government of Niue, Alofi, 2006, pp. 641-716, http://www.gov.nu/wb/media/Volume%202.pdf) determines the Customs Flag in the Part 1, Section 11 (p. 650), so:

11 Customs flag
(1) The Customs flag shall be the Niue Ensign with the addition in the fly of the letters “H.M.C.” in white in bold characters.
(2) The ships and boats employed in the service of the Customs shall be distinguished by the Customs flag.

Now, I am not sure what was the Niue Ensign in 1966, but since 1975 that would be the "yellow ensign", would it not? The Section of the Customs Act 1966 is still valid, unlike some other of its determinations that were repealed in 2004 (among others). Then again, following the letter of the law strictly, the Niue Flag Act (see below) nowhere mentions the word ensign (as in "the Niue Ensign" above). The Section 2 subsection (3) of the Niue Flag Act does invalidate any other "hitherto prescribed or used as the recognised flag of Niue", but it does not state that this ensign is invalidated, and indeed, the inclusion in the 2006 issue of the "Niue Laws" it does appear to be still valid.

Now, if only we could confirm the use of such (or similar) flag by actual customs vessels in Niue. (And, what was the Niue Ensign in 1966? If it was the NZ ensign, its Customs flag of similar design was changed in 1996...)
Željko Heimer, 21 January 2012


Mutalau Ululauta Matahefonua Trust

[Flag of Niue Yacht Club] image located by Aleksandar Nemet, 4 May 2010

The flag of Mutalau Ululauta Matahefonua Trust can be seen here: http://www.mumt.co.nz/images/MutalauFlagMedium.jpg.

Description of a flag:
 "The central big star represents Niue as stand alone nation in the wide Pacific ocean. The five stars represent the Southern Cross on the Niue flag which signifies its link to the Commonwealth. The torch and dove go hand in hand and both represent Mutalau as being the first village of Niue to receive the gospel. Navy blue is the official Mutalau colour."

Source: http://www.mumt.co.nz/about/about.htm
More about Mutalau on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutalau
Aleksandar Nemet, 4 May 2010


Niue Yacht Club

[Flag of Niue Yacht Club] based on an image by Mason Kaye

The Niue Yacht Club in the South Pacific has a yellow background, with a green map of Niue Island. The longitude and latitude are given in green: 19 degrees S, 169 degrees 55 W.
Source: The Complete Guide To Clubs & Flags, p. 30

Mason Kaye, 11 June 2004