Presbyterian Symbols : Finding the Symbol of Church :


After receiving a number of enquiries, and also due to general interest in commonly used symbols used within the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, we have provided the following examples showing general designs and colours (although colours often varied).

We are able to provide a larger versions of some of these symbols for printing purposes via Email, please enquire (link to email on our Home Page at bottom of this page).

Presbyterian Church New Zealand Symbol

The two branches of the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand before Union in 1901 had not formalised the use of a symbol but symbols are evident among the archives.  The Church Board of Property in Otago created a seal in 1875 for legal purposes based on the Burning Bush. It was also used on the covers of the first Books of Order for both the Northern Church and the Synod of Otago and Southland in 1886 and 1887 but placed in a shaded shield.


Presbyterian Church New Zealand Symbol

Other symbols in use before 1916 can be found among the documents and publications in the Archives. The rather ornate symbol on the cover of the New Zealand Presbyterian Church News  (Northern Church) published from 1872 until 1882, does not appear to have been picked up by any General Assembly Committee.


Presbyterian Church New Zealand Symbol


Popular with the Dunedin printers the old Scottish woodcut below appears on a number of  publications.  In particular on the inside cover of the two first official Church histories, John Dickson's "History of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand", 1900 and James Chisholm's "Fifty Years Syne", 1898. 


Presbyterian Church New Zealand Symbol  
  ‘The principles of design - clarity, distribution, balance, meaning and suitability, must be given due weight.'

It was not until 1916 that the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand had an official symbol. The General Assembly wished to reflect not only its link to the Scottish churches but ‘it must indicate a church of the Southern Hemisphere yet not of Australia'.  The Wanganui Presbytery became the constituted Committee who for three years worked towards a symbol of national significance. The Theological Committee had the honour of being the first General Assembly Committee to adopt the new symbol. St. Paul's, Wanganui, made the first practical use of the symbol when it was carved in the keystone of the arch above the main entrance.   This symbol was promulgated on publications, medals, certificates, pulpit falls, vestments and even cuff links. This symbol remained in use until at least the 1980's.

  Presbyterian Church of New Zealand Official Symbol

Presbyterian Church Official Symbol

(c.1970's to date). A variety of colours have been used however the style has remained the same.

Bible Class Union Symbol

Bible Class Union.

Background navy or cobalt blue, yellow/gold highlights with white center, upper lettering optional.

The Bible Class Union badge was originally designed by Mr Ad Howitt for the St John's Young Men's Bible Class in Wellington around 1900. The Young Men's Bible Class Movement officially took over the badge in 1902. It was later adopted by the Young Women's Bible Class Movement and, with a change of colouring, by the Bible Class Movements of other denominations.

According to the Rev W Bower Black in his booklet "Our Badge"(1928), blue stood for Loyalty, white for Purity, and gold as a symbol of the Divine - of God. Rev Black called on members to be Heralds - to wear the badge because of having something to proclaim, to be Covenantors - as having entered into a solemn covenant with Jesus Christ our Lord, and as Crusaders - to go out and win fellow converts and to 'fight the good fight' in the World.


Bible Class Union 25 years Service Badge

Bible Class 25 year Service Badge

In 1918 the Bible Class Union Executive Council adopted the above badge for presentation to those members who had given 25 years of service. Designed in gold and enamel by one of their members, Mr Ad Howitt, the badge was supplied "at cost" to branches who desired to make a formal presentation to any of their long-serving members. Shortly after the initial approval the Executive Council decided on a modification of the badge to be awarded to members for 10 years or more of distinguished service, the badge bearing the number of years service on its face. Sadly, no examples of either badge can be located.


Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union Symbol
Presbyterian Womens Missionary Union

(Single colour version).


Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union Coloured Symbol

Presbyterian Womens Missionary Union

Multi-coloured version). Centre white background, gold coloured background and edging, orange cross, cobalt blue outer circle. Inner designs of sunrise, scroll and burning bush.


Girls Auxiliary Badge
Girls Auxiliary of the Presbyterian Womens Missionary Union.


Busy Bees Symbol
Busy Bees.

Designed in 1949 by Miss Edna Lambert, (born 1914, died 2002) for a Busy Bee membership and enrolment card. Edna was involved for 40 years in Sunday School and Busy Bees work as well as being a member and later first woman Elder of Kelburn Presbyterian Church Wellington.

Presbyterian Church of New Zealand Deaconess Badge

Deaconess Association.
(gold highlights, cobalt blue background, white cross)


Asscoiation of Presbyterian Women Badge

Association of Presbyterian Women.

Gold highlights, centre background all navy blue, red detail, inner stylized "APW" monogram.


Christian Endeavour Society Badge

Christian Endeavour Society

(Affiiliated with the Presbyterian Church). Single colour version - various colours were used however black on white appears most often.


Christian Endeavour Society Expert Badge

Christian Endeavour Society "Expert" Badge

(Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church). Stainless steel edging including the stylized "CE" in centre, navy blue background.



Christian Endeavour Honours Badge

Christian Endeavour Badge (Honours)

(Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church). Cut Stainless Steel. The standard Christian Endeavour badge contained just the "CE" as above (minus the "honours" wording) and has been noted in stainless steel (as above), brass and silver plate. This badge also came in the form of stainless steel and brass tie pins in the above design (minus the "honours" wording).


Christian Endeavour Junior Badge

Christian Endeavour Junior Badge

(Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church). Red and blue enamel on polished brass.


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