International Color Guide - New Zealand

Ancient Maori culture and art drives the color traditions of present-day New Zealand.

New Zealand's flag is a graphic representation of its history. The Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner hearkens back to the country's days as a British colony, as do the flag's colors.

The four stars stand for the Southern Cross, a small but beautiful constellation shaped like a cross which is visible only in the southern hemisphere.

With no written language, the early Maori (the original inhabitants of New Zealand) recorded their history in art. Stone and bone carving, weaving with flax, painting on stones and even the art form of tattooing were passed from generation to generation, and with them, the favored color traditions.

Red is a sacred color in New Zealand even today, and green is favored as well. Black, red ochre and white or silver are considered to be the country's national colors. Blue has long been a color for personal adornment: The Maori use a blue earth called pukepoto to decorate their faces. Another modern-day convention with roots in the environment: The Maori word for orange - parakarka - alludes to the ripe berries of the karaka tree.

New Zealand color chart

The Maori use white as the color of surrender. The color also has patriotic associations.
Black is New Zealand's national color. Sports teams and events weave the word "black" into their names to imply patriotism.
The Maori believe red to be a powerful, sacred color. The Oceanic peoples feel that red stands for nobility and divinity. In general, red denotes hard work and achievement.

The Maori do not distinguish yellow as a particular color and usually call it red.

Blue is frequently used by the Maori to decorate their faces.

Red ochre is a national color of New Zealand.


The Maori consider red and green to be colors of celebration.


A holdover from British rule, red and gold are associated with knighthood.


Combining black and white or silver are among New Zealand's national colors.
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