National Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag

The national Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag was chosen following extensive nationwide consultation. Although it lacks official recognition, it serves as a meaningful symbol of this land that can harmoniously accompany the New Zealand flag. Displaying both flags on significant national occasions, like Waitangi Day, represents and strengthens the relationship between the Crown and Māori.

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Meaning of Design 

The components of the national Māori flag symbolize the three dimensions:

  1. Te Korekore, representing potential existence (black, upper portion).
  2. Te Whai Ao, signifying the emergence into being (red, lower portion).
  3. Te Ao Mārama, symbolizing the realm of existence and enlightenment (white, central portion).

The koru symbolizes the unfurling fern frond, embodying the emergence of new life, optimism for what lies ahead, and the cycle of rejuvenation.

Maori flag

Background

In January 2009, the Hon Pita Sharples, who served as the Minister of Māori Affairs, made a public appeal for the display of a Māori flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge in celebration of Waitangi Day. His proposal aimed to use the presence of the Māori flag at prominent national locations to signify and strengthen the relationship between the Crown and Māori.

Responding to this initiative, the Rt Hon John Key, who held the position of Prime Minister at the time, expressed his willingness to support the concurrent display of both the New Zealand and Māori flags, pending agreement on the choice of the Māori flag that best represented the nation’s indigenous culture and heritage. This engagement marked a significant step toward the acknowledgment and incorporation of Māori symbols into New Zealand’s national identity.

Throughout July and August 2009, a total of 21 public hui were conducted across the country, along with the solicitation of written and online submissions from both Māori and other interested individuals in New Zealand. This comprehensive process led to the identification of four flags with national significance, all of which were taken into consideration for the role of the preferred national Māori flag.
  • The New Zealand flag
  • the New Zealand Red Ensign
  • the national flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand
  • the Māori flag (Tino Rangatiratanga).
More than 1,200 submissions were received, with 79% of the contributors identifying themselves as Māori. Among these submissions, 80.1% favored the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag as their choice for the preferred national Māori flag. Feedback further emphasized that this flag should be raised on Waitangi Day and other important national events.
On December 14, 2009, the Cabinet officially acknowledged the Māori (Tino Rangatiratanga) flag as the favored choice for the national Māori flag, with recognition that it would harmonize with the New Zealand flag.

The national Māori flag found its origins in the creative efforts of individuals closely affiliated with the Te Kawariki group, who embarked on its development in the year 1989. Their dedication to the project culminated in a momentous occasion when, on February 6, 1990, during the celebrated Waitangi Day festivities, the group proudly unveiled the flag to the public. This historic revelation marked a significant milestone in the flag’s journey towards becoming a symbol of Māori identity and cultural significance.

Guidelines for displaying the national Māori flag

The proper manner to display the national Māori flag involves:

  • Honors the New Zealand flag as the symbol of the Realm, Government, and the people of New Zealand.
  • expresses a spirit of mutual respect and nationhood respects its status as the preferred national Māori flag.

Guidelines for displaying the national Māori flag alongside the New Zealand

These guidelines are designed to align with the existing New Zealand Flag protocols. In accordance with the principles mentioned earlier, the display of the national Māori flag should adhere to established flag-flying customs. It is strongly recommended to raise both flags together on Waitangi Day.

Arrangement or Placement

When displaying the flag, ensure that the black section is positioned at the top, with the upper part of the koru nearest to the flagpole, and the red section at the bottom.

Simultaneously hoisting both flags on a single flagpole

In cases where there’s only one flagpole, it is recommended that the New Zealand flag be positioned above the national Māori flag to signify its role as the symbol of the Realm, Government, and the people of New Zealand.

Flagpole arm

If a flagpole is equipped with a yardarm, the New Zealand flag should be displayed on the left side when facing it, while the national Māori flag should be positioned on the right.

Several flagpoles

In the case of multiple flagpoles, the New Zealand flag should be raised on the leftmost pole when facing them, with the national Māori flag positioned adjacent to the New Zealand flag. Both flags should be flown at the same height.

If the flagpoles are arranged in a row along the front of a building, place the New Zealand flag on the leftmost pole when facing the building, and the national Māori flag on the subsequent pole in the row.

If the flagpoles extend from the building’s entrance, position the New Zealand flag on the left pole when facing the entrance, and place the national Māori flag on the following pole in the row.

Flagstaff

From a flagstaff extension at the top of the flagpole, the national Māori flag should be displayed directly below the New Zealand flag.

In the presence of flags from other countries

In accordance with international conventions, New Zealand aligns with the practice of placing the official flags of other nations directly following the New Zealand flag and before any additional flags. The specific placement of the national Māori flag is contingent upon the location, arrangement of flagpoles, and the nature of the event. There are two proposed positions for the national Māori flag when it is displayed alongside the New Zealand flag and the official flags of other countries.

Either directly below the New Zealand flag on the same pole or on the pole immediately following the official flags of other countries.

Where to obtain a national Māori flag

The national Māori flag is crafted by several flag manufacturers in New Zealand, including Adams Flags, Flags Group Ltd, Flags.net.nz, Flag makers, Flag Sellers, and The Flag Shop Ltd.

Depiction of the national Māori flag

The national Māori flag does not have officially designated Pantone spot colors.

Advice from a flag manufacturer indicates that historically, the standard colors used are:

  • White
  • Black
  • Pantone 186C (Red) / RGB 227, 24, 55.