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New Zealand Parliament

Flags flying in front of Parliament House

Parliamentary Service Collection

Information
Date:
23 June 2010
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Flags on Parliament’s forecourt

People who enter Parliament’s grounds will notice the variety of flags that are flown on the forecourt. But how do the flags get there, and why are they flown?

The Parliamentary Service Messengers raise and lower the flags as necessary.

Dual New Zealand flags are flown each day from 8.30 a.m. to 4.45 p.m., including weekends and public holidays, in the position of honour to the right and left of the central flag pole. The central flag pole is kept vacant if no other flags are to be flown.

Flags other than the New Zealand flag may be flown between the New Zealand flags to mark special visits or occasions. Where more than one flag is to be flown, the flags are raised in alphabetical order from left to right (observing from the lawn). The Visits and Ceremonial Office of the Department of Internal Affairs provides international flags.

“Dressing the forecourt” is the term used for flying the New Zealand flag from all 29 flagpoles. It occurs on special occasions such as a visit by a head of State or the opening of Parliament.

When the Governor-General visits Parliament, the Governor-General’s flag is flown on a flag pole at the foot of the main stairs to Parliament House to indicate his presence.

From time to time approval is given by the Speaker for flags to be flown to commemorate other events of public significance. Those seeking this approval must provide the flag. Requests are handled by the Parliamentary Service Operations Group, and must be received at least 5 working days prior to the flag’s being raised. Agencies whose flags have been flown include the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

The Parliamentary Service Security Group is responsible for the raising and lowering of forecourt flags on weekends and public holidays.