The flag of the Royal New Zealand Navy is flying high above the Auckland Harbour Bridge for the first time. The White Ensign is flying to mark Saturday's 75th anniversary of the foundation of the navy and will fly annually on October 1. Chief of Navy, John Martin, said the White Ensign symbolised the navy's historic contribution to the peace and security of New Zealand.
"Our navy patrols the fourth-largest exclusive economic zone in the world and our work stretches from Antarctica to the Middle East," Martin said.
"In this, our 75th year, it is wonderful to celebrate our country's acknowledgement of their navy in such a way." Only four flags aside from the national one have been permitted to fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The Tino Rangatiratanga flag flies on Waitangi Day and the Australian flag on ANZAC Day. The Red Ensign, or Merchant Navy Flag, was flown on the bridge for the first time on September 3, 2014, to commemorate the role of the Merchant Navy in wartime.
On January 22 this year the proposed Silver Fern flag, which was part of the flag referendum, was flown until March 22.