Update: MP Hone Harawira has argued that the Maori flag should not be called the TR/Tino Rangatiratanga flag. Since it’s creation it has been embraced by those seeking self-directed development and is commonly referred to as such by those who fly it.
Today PM John Key and Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples told a news conference that the Maori Flag, also known as the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag will fly side by side with the New Zealand flag on all government buildings, Key’s official residence in Wellington and on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day (Feb 6).
Colin Espiner, political editor of the Christchurch Press, reported that Key “indicated 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 was quoted as saying.
The news came after New Zealand’s cabinet agreed Monday that a Maori sovereignty flag would fly over parliament on the country’s national day next year in a major concession to its indigenous people. Previous governments refused to acknowledge the flag, which has been widely adopted by Tangata Whenua
“It’s a sign of partnership and unity,” Key said. “It’s about the symbolism of partnership on Waitangi Day.”Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori affairs and co-leader of the Maori Party, said flying the flag was a simple way to recognize the status of Maori as the indigenous people and their contribution to New Zealand.
It was reported that 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.
The decision has been celebrated by most however critics argue that it is a token gesture which saw the Maori Party giving National the numbers it needed to pass the ETS, a scheme that may cost over $40 billion to Maori households over the next 40 years resulting in service cuts with increased taxes and privatisation.