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Half-masting the New Zealand Flag

Flags are flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning.

The flag is half-masted by raising it to the top of the mast, then slowly lowering it to the half-mast position, which will depend on the size of the flag and the length of the flagpole.

The flag must be lowered to a position more than its own depth from the top of the flagpole to avoid the appearance of a flag which has accidentally fallen from the top of the flagpole. When the New Zealand Flag is flown at half-mast, other flags should not be flown above it.  The Flag should be raised again to the peak before lowering it for the day.

Flags on government buildings should be flown at half-mast when directed by the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

For government and public buildings, flags should be flown at half-mast during times of mourning for the following people and according to the following procedures.

The Sovereign

From the announcement of death up to and including the day of the funeral (except on Proclamation Day when the new sovereign is officially announced and flags are flown from the top of the mast).

The Governor-General, former Governors-General, the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers.

On the announcement of death and the day of the funeral.

Members of the Royal Family

On the day of the funeral subject to special command from The Queen or the Governor-General.

Commonwealth Governors-General, Commonwealth Prime Ministers in office, Foreign and Commonwealth Heads of State

On the day of the funeral only.

When local authorities fly their local flag at half-mast following the death of a prominent local citizen, it is appropriate to do so on the day or part of the day of the funeral. The same etiquette applies to the house flag of a company or organisation. In these cases the New Zealand Flag should remain at full mast.


The Ministry provides email notifications to individuals and organisations when the New Zealand Flag is to be half-masted. If you would like to be added to the list, please contact us with your email address.

View a list of half-masting occasions since 2005.

Updated on 9th September 2022