– New Zealand Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms above represents our founding history and our link with the Monarchy. The old version below looks like we're owned and controlled by Britain (which we're not). That's the difference a flag without the Union Jack will make. It won't alter our relationship with Britain or the Queen, but it will show us as an independent country. Changing our Coat of Arms and our anthem hasn't been the end of the world – it simply makes these things feel like ours, and the same will apply with the flag. We can keep the present flag in our Coat of Arms to remember our beginnings, but it shouldn't preclude a grown-up flag that shows we are proud of New Zealand.

From 1840 to 1911, New Zealand used the British Royal Arms. Our own Coat of Arms was first established after a design competition in 1908. There were 75 designs received, featuring kiwis, sheep, cows, moa and lions, along with stars, ships, British soldiers, Maori warriors and Union Jacks. Three designs were sent to England for judging. The winning entry was further refined and became known as the 1911 Arms. By the mid-1940s, at least twenty different versions were in use. A committee was set up to redraw and standardise the Arms, and the Queen approved the revised version in 1956. The woman in the Arms is sometimes referred to as "Zealandia", and represents the colonial settlers. Some Maori have grown up believing the woman is the Queen (and consequently have misinterpreted the meaning of the image). The Arms were designed seventy years after the Treaty was signed, and the reigning monarch was a King.