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Half-masting to commemorate first anniversary of Whakaari/White Island volcanic eruption

Media release: 8 December 2020

At the request of the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Flag is to be flown at half-mast on all Government and public buildings on Wednesday 9 December 2020 to mark the first anniversary of the Whakaari/White Island volcanic eruption.

The New Zealand Flag should be flown at half-mast all day on Wednesday 9 December 2020. This instruction applies to all Government Departments, buildings and naval vessels which have flag poles and normally fly the New Zealand Flag. The Flag should be returned to full mast at the close of business hours on Wednesday 9 December 2020.

The flag is half-masted by first raising it to the top of the mast and then immediately lowering it slowly to the half-mast position.  The half-mast position will depend on the size of the flag and the length of the flagpole.  The flag must be lowered to a position recognisably “half-mast” to avoid the appearance of a flag which has accidentally fallen away from the top of the flagpole.  As a guide, the flag should be more than its own depth from the top of the flagpole.  At the end of the day, the flag should be raised again to the top of the flagpole before being fully lowered.

For more information about half-masting the flag, visit

If you have any questions, please contact Gillian Stone or Julie Moonlight on (04) 499 4229. Media enquiries should be directed to 027 622 0468.

Updated on 10th December 2020