The flag of New Zealand is a defaced Blue Ensign with the Union Flag in the canton, and four red stars with white borders to the right. The stars represent the constellation of Crux, the Southern Cross.
New Zealand's first flag, the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, was adopted before New Zealand became a British colony. Chosen by an assembly of Māori chiefs in 1834, the flag was of a St George's Cross with another cross in the canton containing four stars on a blue field. After the formation of the colony in 1841, British ensigns began to be used. The current flag was designed and adopted for restricted use in 1869 and became the national flag in 1902. It is the British Blue Ensign, incorporating a stylised representation of the Southern Cross showing the four brightest stars in the constellation. Each star varies slightly in size. The Union Flag in the canton recalls New Zealand's colonial ties to Britain.