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New Zealand Coat of Arms entry, 1906 | by Archives New Zealand
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New Zealand Coat of Arms entry, 1906

Title: 1906 Coat of Arms Competition entries - "Kia Ora" 3 designs each with this name, submitted by "Niu Tireni"

Archives reference: ACGO 8341 IA9 Box 25/30 31 Part 1-3


New Zealand used the British Royal Arms from 1840 until 1911. However, in 1905 Britain pointed out that New Zealand did not have its own coat of arms, and in 1906 the New Zealand Government ran a competition to select one.


In fact, there were two competitions, possibly because the plans were forgotten until New Zealand became a dominion in 1907. One story is that the original entries were destroyed in the 1907 parliamentary fire. But this is not true - both sets are held at Archives New Zealand.


Ordinary New Zealanders entered the competitions to design a coat of arms. Seventy-five submissions were received when the competition was rerun in 1908. Designs included fern leaves, kiwi, moa, sheep, sheaves of wheat, the Southern Cross, crowns and rangatira.


The three best entries were sent to England for judging. First prize (£20) went to James McDonald, who worked as a draughtsman for the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts. He was also an artist, photographer, filmmaker and promoter of Māori arts and crafts.


The image above is from a 1906 entry titled “Kia Ora”. Submitted by “Niu Tireni”, it included three designs on board and a letter describing the entries.


More information about past and present versions of the New Zealand Coat of Arms can be found at


Caption information from and


Material from Archives New Zealand Te Ruā Mahara o te Kawanatanga


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Taken on August 17, 2017