Te Puni Kokiri

Language preference: Māori English

Language preference: Māori English

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.

Introduction, purpose and principles

In 2009 Cabinet noted that a preferred national Māori flag has been identified, and that it is intended to complement the New Zealand flag. Cabinet also noted that it is proposed that the flag will fly on certain buildings and structures and sites of national significance on Waitangi Day, and that government agencies may also fly the flag at their discretion on Waitangi Day [CAB Min (09) 44/15 refers].

The national Māori flag was identified through a nationwide consultation process, as detailed below. While it does not carry official status, by virtue of its design, it is a symbol of this land which can complement the New Zealand flag. Flying the two flags together, on days of national significance like Waitangi Day, will symbolise and enhance the Crown-Māori relationship.

Purpose of this Information

These guidelines provide information to Ministers and officials about flying the national Māori flag together with the New Zealand flag from buildings, structures and other sites of national significance under their direction.

These guidelines have been developed by Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage with full recognition of:

  • The Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981;
  • The New Zealand Flag Notice 1986; and
  • The New Zealand Flag Protocols.

These guidelines are not binding and apply to buildings, structures and other sites of national significance only. Private organisations or citizens who would like to fly the national Māori flag in accordance with the principles detailed below may also use this document as a guide.

Principles of Flying the National Māori Flag

The national Māori flag should be flown in a manner that:

  • Respects the status of the New Zealand flag as ‘the symbol of the Realm, Government, and people of New Zealand’ 1;
  • Expresses a spirit of mutual respect and nationhood; and
  • Respects its status as the preferred national Māori flag.

 Background

In January 2009, the Minister of Māori Affairs publicly called for a Māori flag to be flown from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day. He considered that flying a Māori flag at sites of national significance would reflect and enhance Crown-Māori relationships. The Prime Minister answered that call, saying that he would support flying the two flags together, if agreement could be reached on a preferred flag.

Over July and August 2009, twenty-one public hui were held nationwide, and written and online submissions were 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; and the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag.

Over 1,200 submissions were received, with 79% of submitters identifying themselves as Māori. Of the total submissions, 80.1% selected the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag as the preferred national Māori flag.

On 14 December 2009, Cabinet recognised the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag (pictured) as the preferred national Māori flag, and noted that it will complement the New Zealand flag.

Māori Flag

The national Māori flag was developed by members of a group named Te Kawariki in 1989. On 6 February 1990, the group unveiled the flag at Waitangi.

The various elements of the national Māori flag represent the three realms of Te Korekore, potential being (Black, top); Te Whai Ao, coming into being (Red, bottom); and 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. The flag should always be flown as depicted above, that is, with the black section at the top, the top part of the koru closest to the flagpole, and the red section of the flag at the bottom.

Protocols for the National Māori Flag

The following protocols provide guidance on flying the national Māori flag together with the New Zealand flag. They are intended to complement the New Zealand flag Protocols published by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.2

Subject to the principles detailed above, flying the national Māori flag should be consistent with current flag-flying practices. Flying the two flags together on Waitangi Day is encouraged.

Flying Both Flags from the Same Flagpole

Where there is a single flagpole, the New Zealand flag should fly above the national Māori flag in order to respect its status as the symbol of the Realm, Government, and people of New Zealand. Those wishing to fly the two flags together from the same height might look to have a yardarm installed onto their flagpole.

New Zealand and Māori flags

 

Yardarm

If a flag pole has a yardarm, from the ends of which flags are flown, the New Zealand flag should fly on the observer’s left, with the national Māori flag on their right.

Yardarm

 

Multiple Flag Poles

Where there are multiple flag poles, the New Zealand flag should fly from the pole which is on the observer’s left, 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 seen by someone approaching 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 seen by someone standing at the building’s entrance and looking at the line of flags, The national Māori flag should fly from the next pole in the line.

Multiple Flags

 

Gaff

If there is a gaff extending out from the top of the flag pole, the national Māori flag should be flown from the gaff, directly beneath the New Zealand flag.

Gaff

 

Flags of Other Nations 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 most appropriate position for the national Māori flag will likely depend on the particular location, pole configuration and occasion.

There are two suggested positions for the national Māori flag when it is to fly with the New Zealand flag, as well as the national flags of other countries. They are:

  • From the same pole as the New Zealand flag, directly below it; or
  • From the pole immediately following the official flags of other countries.

Obtaining the National Māori Flag

The national Māori flag is produced as a standard item by some of New Zealand’s flag manufacturers, such as Flagz Group Ltd, Flags.net.nz, Flagmakers, and The Flag Shop Ltd, among others.

  2 Ministry for Culture and Heritage Flag Protocols state that within New Zealand, the New Zealand Flag takes precedence over all other national flags and house flags. These Protocols can be viewed at http://www.mch.govt.nz/nzflag/protocol.html

1Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981

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