Maori flag won't be fluttering in city

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 07:55 31/01/2014
The Tino Rangatiratanga flag

NO SHOW: The Tino Rangatiratanga flag won't play a part of the Civic Offices this Waitangi Day.

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Only the New Zealand flag will fly from the Civic Offices on Waitangi Day.

Christchurch City councillors have decided they will not be rushed into making a decision on whether the distinctive black, white and red Te Tino Rangatiritanga flag should also be flown, preferring instead to consult thoroughly with the local runanga and Ngai Tahu.

The tino rangatiritanga flag has been recognised by the Government as the preferred national Maori flag since 2009 and has been flown on government buildings and other sites of national significance, such as the Auckland Harbour Bridge, on Waitangi Day and other significant occasions.

Some local authorities, including the Dunedin and Wellington city councils, have picked up on the practice and also now fly the flag on Waitangi Day as a show of respect to Maori, but the Christchurch City Council has so far shied away from doing so.

That is because the initial consultation it had with Ngai Tahu, through Mahaanui Kurataiao (MKT), indicated that it would not be appropriate to fly that flag here as Ngai Tahu did not consider it representative of the iwi.

Indigenous rights group Te Ata Tino Toa has been pressuring the council to fly the flag but councillors yesterday voted to take staff advice and initiate discussions with local runanga and Ngai Tahu before deciding whether any flag other than the New Zealand flag should be flown from the Civic Offices on Waitangi Day.

"We want to work through this issue in a sensitive way," Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.

Cr Glenn Livingstone said the approach the council was taking was entirely appropriate as partnership with Maori was at the essence of the Treaty of Waitangi.

But Te Ata Tino Toa is disappointed with the council's decision.

Chairman Te Ao Pritchard said in Australia it was the norm for the Aboriginal flag to fly from council buildings all year long.

"The flag will be flown in Otautahi by individuals, whanau and local groups. But this is not the same as elected representatives supporting the flag."

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- The Press

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