The national Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag was identified through a nationwide consultation process. While it does not carry official status it is a symbol of this land that can complement the New Zealand flag. Flying the two flags together on days of national significance such as Waitangi Day symbolises and enhances the Crown-Māori relationship.
The Tino Rangatiratanga Flag
Symbolism of the design
The elements of the national Māori flag represent the three realms:
- Te Korekore, potential being (black, top)
- Te Whai Ao, coming into being (red, bottom)
- Te Ao Mārama, the realm of being and light (white, centre).
The koru is symbolic of a curling fern frond, representing the unfolding of new life, hope for the future and the process of renewal.
In January 2009, the Hon Pita Sharples, Minister of Māori Affairs, publicly called for a Māori flag to be flown from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day. He thought that flying a Māori flag at sites of national significance would reflect and enhance Crown-Māori relationships. The Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister, answered that call, saying he would support flying the two flags together if agreement could be reached on a preferred flag.
Over July and August 2009, 21 public hui were held nationwide and written and online submissions invited from Māori and other interested New Zealanders. Four flags of national significance were identified for consideration as the preferred national Māori flag:
- the New Zealand flag
- the New Zealand Red Ensign
- the national (United Tribes of New Zealand) flag
- the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag.
Over 1200 submissions were received with 79% of contributers identifying themselves as Māori. Of the submissions, 80.1% selected the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag as the preferred national Māori flag. Feedback also indicated that it should be flown on Waitangi Day and other significant occasions.
On 14 December 2009, Cabinet recognised the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag as the preferred national Māori flag, and noted that it will complement the New Zealand flag.
The national Māori flag was developed by members of the group Te Kawariki in 1989. On 6 February 1990, the group unveiled the flag at Waitangi.
Principles of flying the national Māori flag
The national Māori flag should be flown in a way that:
- respects the status of the New Zealand flag as ‘the symbol of the Realm, Government and people of New Zealand’
- expresses a spirit of mutual respect and nationhood
- respects its status as the preferred national Māori flag.
Protocols for flying the national Māori flag with the New Zealand Flag
These guidelines are intended to complement the New Zealand Flag protocols.
Subject to the principles above, flying the national Māori flag should be consistent with current flag-flying practices. Flying the two flags together on Waitangi Day is encouraged.
The flag should always be flown with the black section at the top, the top part of the koru closest to the flagpole, and the red section at the bottom.
Flying both flags from the same flagpole
Where there is a single flagpole, the New Zealand flag should fly above the national Māori flag to respect its status as the symbol of the Realm, Government and people of New Zealand.
If a flagpole has a yardarm, the New Zealand flag should fly on the left as you’re looking at it, with the national Māori flag on your right.
For multiple flag poles, the New Zealand flag should fly from the pole on your left as you’re looking at it, with the national Māori flag next to the New Zealand flag. The two flags should fly from equal height.
If the poles are in a line across the front of a building, the New Zealand flag should fly from the left pole as you’re looking at the building, with the national Māori flag on the next pole in the line.
If the poles are in a line extending from the building’s entrance, the New Zealand flag should fly from the left pole as you’re looking at the building’s entrance. The national Māori flag should fly from the next pole in the line.
From a gaff extending from the top of the flag pole, the national Māori flag should be flown directly beneath the New Zealand flag.
When flags of other nations are also flown
New Zealand follows international custom when flying multiple national flags, which puts the official flags of other countries directly after the New Zealand flag, and before other flags. The appropriate position for the national Māori flag will depend on the location, pole configuration and occasion. There are two suggested positions for the national Māori flag when it is with the New Zealand flag and the national flags of other countries:
- from the same pole as the New Zealand flag, directly below it
- from the pole immediately following the official flags of other countries.
Where to get a national Māori flag
The national Māori flag is produced by some of New Zealand’s flag manufacturers, such as Adams Flags, Flagz Group Ltd, Flags.net.nz, Flagmakers, and The Flag Shop Ltd.