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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


The Original Flag
Flown After a Century.

A unique event was the hoisting by Mr. J. W. Andrews, Mayor of Lower Hutt, of a century-old New Zealand flag, which has been definitely identified as one of two flown on September 30, 1839. One was flown from the "Tory's" main, and one from a staff on Petone beach.
This flag is the property of Mr. Gillespie, builder, Dannevirke, and has been in the possession of the Gillespie family for a number of years. Mr. Gillespie made a special journey from Dannevirke to exhibit the flag, which was too frail to be allowed to fly for more than a few minutes, so the flag which was flown during the pageant was a shipping company flag, which differs slightly from the old New Zealand flag as exhibited by Mr. Gillespie. This original flag must not, of course, be confused with the present New Zealand flag, with which it has no connection.
The old flag remained flying at Petone until Captain Hobson visited Wellington to subdue the "rebel" Government, when one of his first acts was to order a constable to proceed to Petone and haul down the New Zealand flag, and this was done in the early hours of the morning before people in the settlement were awake. It was held by Government officials, and in later years was given to the Gillespie family, which at the time had a hotel in Tinakori Road, the bar-room of which became a museum of articles of historic interest.
Mr. Gillespie has other very interesting exhibits, among which is a bag of early coins and trade tokens issued in early Wellington.

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