Maori flag to fly on Waitangi Day

BY COLIN ESPINER
Last updated 15:31 14/12/2009

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The Maori "tino rangatiratanga" flag has been chosen to fly from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.

Prime Minister John Key and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples have just announced the flag can be flown from significant sites, including the bridge and Premier House, on New Zealand's national day.

Key said the Maori flag would not replace the New Zealand flag but would fly alongside it to recognise the partnership the Crown and Maori entered into when signing the Treaty of Waitangi.  "No changes are being made to the status of the New Zealand flag," Mr Key said.

Sharples said the Maori flag was a simple way to recognise the status of Maori as tangata whenua. "However, the New Zealand flag remains the symbol of our nation, and there is no intention to change this, nor to diminish the status of our national flag."

Dr Sharples said Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage will publish guidelines later this week describing the appropriate way to fly the Maori flag in relation to the New Zealand flag.

More than 1200 submissions were received on which Maori flag should fly from the bridge, and 80 per cent favoured the flag commonly referred to as the 'tino rangatiratanga' flag as the preferred Maori flag.

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