The government of New Zealand is represented by an intricate symbol called a coat of arms. The history of coats of arms goes back hundreds of years.
However, the coat of arms used by the New Zealand Government is much younger. It is based upon the design of James McDonald, the winner of a public competition held in 1906. His design was officially accepted and introduced by a royal warrant of King George V in 1911.
The design was revised slightly in 1956, when a crown replaced the lion holding the Union Flag. The motto ‘Onward’ was replaced by ‘New Zealand’. The supporters, a female figure (usually shown as a European woman) and a Maori chief, were made to face inwards. The chief was given a kapeu, a greenstone ear pendant.
These arms are used on official documents, and are to be found in many government buildings. As they are the insignia of the New Zealand Government, private use, especially of a commercial nature, is not appropriate.