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Regional Council to fly Maori flag more often

Monday, 11 July 2011 12:00 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council will fly the Māori flag on more days significant to Māori, such as Matariki (Māori New Year), Anzac Day, Māori Language Week and other milestones.

The Regional Council was the first local authority to fly the Māori flag on Waitangi Day this year. The Regional Council's Māori Committee meeting heard that, although Waitangi Day fell on a Sunday, the flag was noticed by members of the public who had responded positively.

Māori Policy staff had surveyed 10 other councils to ask if they were likely to fly the Māori Flag in the future. Eight said they had not considered it, while two were seriously considering the option. Government agencies including Parliament, the Governor's Residence and Auckland Harbour Bridge had all supported flying both Māori Flag and New Zealand flags on Waitangi Day.

Staff from the other councils had commented that the Bay of Plenty Regional Council had demonstrated strong leadership in adopting the Māori flag, setting a national precedent and continuing to traverse into challenging areas.

Committee Chairman Tai Eru said the Regional Council was the only Council to have adopted flying the Māori flag.

The Māori Committee had originally suggested that the flag also be flown every day along with the New Zealand flag or on other significant occasions.

All councillors unanimously agreed to fly the flag on more occasions than just Waitangi day. The flag should be flown in a way that respected the status of the New Zealand flag as 'the symbol of the Realm, Government and people of New Zealand', expressed a spirit of mutual respect and nationhood and respected its status as the preferred national Māori flag.

"There has been a lot of communications to our organisation about our decision to fly the Māori flag. Others are using our policy to encourage and promote discussion on this issue to their respective councils," Mr Eru said.

The Committee recommended flying the Māori flag throughout Matariki, the Māori New Year in early June, during Māori Language Week (next week), when a directive is made by the Prime Minister to fly the New Zealand flag and at the discretion of the Māori Committee for significant occasions, such as Anzac Day or acknowledging visits by Heads of State.

  • The flag, known as the Tino Rangatiratanga flag, was designed in 1990. The koru or curling frond shape represents the unfolding of new life, re-birth and hope for the future. Black represents Te Korekore, the realm of potential and the male element, white represents Te Ao Mārama, the world of light and symbolises harmony and balance, while red represents Te Whei Ao, the realm of coming into being and Papatuanuku the earth mother.

For further media information please contact Māori Policy Manager Kataraina Belshaw on 0800 884 880, or Linda Thompson, Senior Communications Advisor, direct dial 0800 884 881 ext 8149 or (021) 923 339.

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