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Civic heraldry of New Zealand
The arms were granted on 25th July 1958.
The shield, topped by a mural crown, denotes a body corporate and is the emblem of local government administration. The symbols of the shield are two sheaves and a ram's head, indicative of the agricultural and pastoral prosperity of the province, whilst the ship is a symbol of overseas-borne trade.
The city was named after Captain Cargill, associated with the House of Drummond. The three red wavy bars behind the head are from the arms of the House of Drummond.
The supporters are two Notornis (a.k.a. Moho or Takahe), birds, first discovered in Fiordland in 1856. Presumed to be extinct, they were re-discovered in 1948. The foliage of the surrounds is Southland beech.
The Latin inscription "Pro Communi Utilitate" means "For the benefit of the community."