On Tuesday 17 June 2008, the Master and the General Secretary represented the Company at Government House, Wellington at a reception for representatives of the 150 organisations in New Zealand privileged to have Vice-Regal Patronage.
His Excellency, the Hon Anand Satyanand, thanked everyone for the mostly voluntary work that each organisation did for the New Zealand community.
The reception also marked the launch of the Governor-Generals new standard which was raised for the first time in the presence of all attendees. This standard replaced one which had been in use since 1937.
The Governor General’s flag was originally instituted by the Admiralty in 1869 and was intended for maritime use exclusively but subsequently flown on all occasions when he is present and also over Government House when he is in residence. A number of different designs ensured but in January 1931 a new vice-regal flag was designed partly in order to meet South African objections to the use of the Union Jack and partly to symbolise the Governor-General’s new status as the King’s personal representative. It was a uniform design for all Dominions but with the appropriate name. It was adopted in New Zealand in 1937.
The new flag reflects elements pertinent to New Zealand. The first quarter represents the southern cross, then three ships symbolising the importance of New Zealand’s sea trade; in the second quarter is a fleece representing the farming industry. The wheat sheaf in the third quarter represents the agricultural industry, whilst the crossed hammer in the fourth quarter represents the mining industry.