THE FIRST MAN TO FLY THE CURRENT NEW ZEALAND FLAG WAS AUSTRALIAN GEORGE AUSTIN WOODS
NZ FLAG FACT NUMBER 36
The first time the Markham-designed New Zealand flag flew in New Zealand was 29 October 1869 on a ship moored at the Wellington waterfront.
And the man who had hoisted it was George Austin Woods. Woods, from Victoria, Australia, was in command of the Edith, the ship bought by the New Zealand Marine Department and then towed to New Zealand by flag designer Albert Hastings Markham aboard HMS Blanche. When the Edith arrived in Wellington, the local newspaper, the Evening Post, reported:
The altered New Zealand flag, as appointed by the Governor’s recent proclamation, might have been seen for the first time this morning, flying on board the surveying schooner Edith. This handsome little vessel is now ready for sea, and will proceed to Auckland as soon as the weather moderates sufficiently to admit of her departure, in charge of Lieut. Woods, Marine Surveyor.
After his arrival in New Zealand, Woods worked as the country’s marine surveyor. He was also in charge of the New Zealand armed constabulary when on water. After leaving New Zealand in 1871, he went to Fiji, where he became its Premier.
From New Zealand Flag Facts by historian Malcolm Mulholland. Read more at: