NZ FLAG FACT NUMBER 79
In 1962 the General Secretary of the Returned Servicemen’s Association (RSA) contacted the Department of Internal Affairs on behalf of the Patea RSA to ask about flag etiquette on the death of a member. J. L. O’Sullivan, responding on behalf of the Secretary of Internal Affairs, advised that a flag can be flown on the day of such a death or funeral, or both. He then offered further advice.
"If it is desired to half-mast the flag, this should be done for the funeral only, and the flag to be used should be the Union Jack, as the New Zealand Ensign is only half-masted on the death of a National or Empire statesman and on the occasion of the death of the Head of a Foreign State or demise of the Crown. I think you will appreciate that should the practice of half-masting the New Zealand Ensign at the funerals of Returned Association members, especially in the smaller centres, be encouraged, this would lead to confusion and would become a purely automatic gesture which in time would become meaningless. However, all would be in order if the Union Jack was used, and this would be an adequate mark of respect on such occasions."
The department’s position at time was the same as the position evident in its ruling on this matter in 1951 and 1954.
From New Zealand Flag Facts by historian Malcolm Mulholland. Read more at: