Maori flag flying at Rotorua Civic centre for Waitangi Day
6 February 2013
Rotorua District Council (RDC) is flying a Maori flag alongside the New Zealand flag at the council Civic Centre on Waitangi Day today [Wednesday 6 February].
However it is the ‘Independence Flag of the Confederated Hapu of New Zealand’ which dates back to 1835, and not the more recent Tino Rangatiratanga flag.
The decision follows a recommendation made to RDC this week (Monday 4 February) at a meeting of the council’s Te Arawa Standing Committee.
The flag selected to fly this year on Waitangi Day is an interim measure only until a permanent flag is designed by Te Arawa for use on future Waitangi Days.
A decision on what flag will fly in coming years has been left in the hands of Te Pukenga Koeke o Te Arawa, the group of Te Arawa kaumatua which advises the council on cultural matters.
It is understood that Te Pukenga Koeke is mounting a design competition among schools to identify a flag that can specifically represent Te Arawa people.
Te Arawa Standing Committee chairman and Rotorua mayor Kevin Winters said the choice of flag to be flown on the Civic Centre was a decision for Te Arawa.
“In 2011 the council accepted in principle a request for a Maori flag to be flown at the Civic Centre on Waitangi Days as acknowledgement of the partnership between Maori and the council in Rotorua.
“But we left the choice of flag to Te Arawa themselves to determine. While there were some who wanted the Tino Rangatira flag selected, others among Te Arawa were equally adamant that that particular flag was unacceptable to them. There needed to be a strong consensus and that did not appear to be the case by the time Waitangi Day came around last year.
“The decision by the Te Arawa Standing committee this week is a pragmatic one involving some compromise in the interim until local iwi can come up with a more permanent solution for future years.
“We’re hopeful that by Waitangi Day in 2014 Te Arawa will have designed a unique flag that can be widely embraced by Maori as representing Te Arawa,” said Mr Winters. “We look forward to flying that new flag on the Civic Centre next year to acknowledge the place of Te Arawa in our history, their role in governance of our district today, and the continuing partnership into our future.”
The Independence Flag of the Confederated Hapu flying this week on the Civic Centre as a temporary measure was used to welcome pakeha to Te Arawa country in the early 1800s and flew on the first ship to export produce from New Zealand to Australia.