Story: Ngā haki – Māori and flags

Selecting a national Māori flag

In July and August 2009 21 public hui were held across the country to select a national Māori flag. The four flags considered were: the New Zealand flag, the New Zealand red ensign, the United Tribes of New Zealand flag and the tino rangatiratanga flag. In this television news clip some of the participants in the debate are interviewed. (English translation below.)

There is only one flag flying today, and that is the one which the Minister for Māori Affairs supports.

Pita Sharples: 'This is the flag that was carried during the hīkoi to Parliament. Lambton Quay was inundated with tino rangatiratanga flags as well as Māori Party flags. So there you go.'

But there are some who support a different flag. Matiu Tarawa, who is 85, says he has supported the flag of Te Whakaputanga o te rangatiratanga o Niu Tirene [United Tribes' flag] for 70 years.

Matiu Tarawa: 'To me, this one should continue. This one is the tuakana (elder sibling). As for the tino rangatiranga flag, it came afterwards.'

Interviewee: 'Each person has their own view. It is appropriate to listen to all views and then after deliberating select which one is deserving of support.'

This fight is one which has been fought some time by Māori, but this could be the first day of its conclusion. There have been numerous protests that have occurred beginning from Waitangi Day this year and the government has finally taken notice.

Pita Sharples: 'I thank John Key for his role. How many other prime ministers have failed to support this.'

Interviewee: 'This is a significant sign. It is an indication that this holds mana.'

Interviewee: 'I am supportive of this as it is a visionary act.'

While there are four flags available for selection at this stage, it is predicted that there will only be two that will be in the running in the 21 upcoming hui.

Interviewee: 'We have travelled the path set down by the call of tino rangatiratanga.

Matiu Tarawa: 'This is the true flag. It is the reason I wear it on my tie at all times. I have been wearing it for 40 years. We will soon know the decision.'

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TVNZ Television New Zealand

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How to cite this page:

Malcolm Mullholland, 'Ngā haki – Māori and flags - Flags and protest', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 July 2022)

Story by Malcolm Mullholland, published 20 Jun 2012