History of the New Zealand Silver Fern

The Silver Fern is an image which is a powerful and emotional symbol of inspiration at times when it matters. In 1853 a ship of the Royal Navy called at New Plymouth, the HMS Sparrow. The ship stayed in New Zealand waters for the next 10 years and was converted to steam before she left New Zealand.

The Royal Navy challenged the Army Garrison to a teams match of rifle shooting, and it was shot on the Rewa Rewa Rifle Range. The New Zealand shooters picked the silver fern growing in that area and pinned the leaf on to their uniform pocket as a good luck charm. They beat the Royal Navy and said the Silver Fern has brought us luck and we will carry on using it.

New Plymouth Garrison 1853

New Plymouth Garrison 1853



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