The New Zealand flag was designed in 1869 for use as a shipping ensign by British Lieutenant Albert Hastings Markham but quickly began to be used on land as well.
It became the nation’s official flag by legislation in 1902 but had been flown in schools and other places since at least the 1890s.
The Herald has looked at New Zealand then and now using the 1901 and 2013 Censuses.
In 1901 all New Zealanders were also British citizens and very few women worked.
The population was mainly European and after the land wars the Maori population was very low.
A Longman’s reader on the British Empire for British schoolchildren in 1904 summarises New Zealand’s role as follows: ‘The colonists of Australia and New Zealand keep enormous numbers of sheep to supply us with meat and wool’.
These days it is more likely to be milk and the country of destination China – the number of cattle has far outstripped the number of sheep.
In 1901 Tonga was called the ‘Friendly Islands’ – compulsory education was fairly new and educational achievement was based on whether people could read or write.
People of other nationalities were defined by whether they were British subjects (from other colonies in the Empire) or ‘foreign’.
The South Island was sometimes called the ‘Middle Island’ because it was north of Stewart Island.
(ed:..i think we should try to revive the use of ‘middle-island’..don’t you..?)