Story: Flags

Flags flying at Maunga Moria church, around 1900

Flags were not part of traditional Māori culture, but Māori soon recognised their symbolic power. In the early 19th century Māori were recorded using garments as flags. Māori-designed flags proper emerged in the lead-up to the New Zealand wars of the mid-19th century.

This photo shows flags being flown at the opening of the Maunga Moria Church, near Castlepoint in Wairarapa, around 1900. This church was a place of worship for followers of the prophetic Māori Church of the Seven Rules of Jehovah. What appears to be the New Zealand Blue Ensign was raised to the position of honour at the top. The flag used by prophet Pāora Te Pōtangaroa is second from the left.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PAColl-5549-1

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Flags - Māori flags', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 July 2024)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 20 Apr 2016