The current New Zealand flags origins date back to 1902. The Imperial Colonial Naval Defense Act of 1865 ruled that all ships owned by a colonial government must fly the Blue Ensign with the badge of the colony on it. At this point in time New Zealand didn’t yet have an official badge or emblem and had been flying the classic Blue Ensign.
The original design included the abbreviation NZ in red letters with a white outline.
The new Bill was passed by the House on 5 November 1901. There had also been a brief debate as to whether the Southern Cross should have the 5 stars ag) but the idea didn’t stick. On the 24th of March 1902 His Majesty the King approved the act and a proclamation by His Excellency the Governor was published in the New Zealand Gazette on the 12th of June 1902.
“Note: The New Zealand Flag should never be flown in a dilapidated condition.