The New Zealand flag symbolizes the realm, the government and the people. Its blue background represents the sky and the sea. The Union Jack symbolizes the country's history as a colony of the United Kingdom, and the stars represent the Southern Cross.
The representation of the Southern Cross signifies the location of New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean. In 1867, New Zealand's flag was similar to the current version, the only difference being that the letters NZ appeared instead of the stars. The current flag was introduced in 1869, but was not officially adopted until June 12, 1902. New Zealand gained its independence from the United Kingdom on September 26, 1907.