Apr 21, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

Rotorua District Council snubs Te Arawa

3 min read

With Waitangi Day just around the corner, we thought it would be interesting to see what was happening within our own rohe.

When we heard that Te Arawa Standing Committee (TASC) had passed the motion that the Tino Rangatiratanga flag would be raised over the district council on Waitangi Day, we were overwhelmed with pride, so it is with utter disappointment that we see that the RDC has backtracked on their promise.

Waiariki MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, hit out at the decision, saying “The decision, if true, is a blatant disregard of the recommendations made by Te Arawa at a mandated hui called by the Te Arawa Lakes Trust to get their perspective.” He went on to say:

Having attended the hui, I know that there was a general consensus that the Tino Rangatiratanga flag should fly this year on Waitangi Day, that further consideration could be given in the future, and I have no reason to believe that consensus no longer exists,” he added.

This was seen as a good compromise, in fact the hui asked the Council to facilitate having Te Arawa marae flags fly on a main road to remind the community about the relationship envisaged by the Treaty. This sort of decision, however, gives us no hope that a Te Arawa voice will be listened to. And the down side is that this is not the first time”.

Te Arawa might well ask what’s the point in turning up to hui if in the end your decisions are not considered?”

“Te Arawa people give considerable mana to the Te Arawa Standing committee so it is important for the district council to honour that mana and work with the people rather than against them,” ends Mr Flavell.

TASC Member, Potaua Biasiny-Tule remembers things this way “Although the decision wasn’t unanimous, we were led to believe that democracy was at play, and we were active participants in this process and that our decision would lead to the Tino Rangatiratanga flag being flow in unison with the New Zealand flag”.

*The Te Arawa Standing Committee (TASC) is an iwi mandated group that provides advice to the Rotorua District Council as it pertains to Iwi Maori.


On 5 December 2011, after lengthy discussion TASC resolved that the Tino Rangatiratanga flag would be flown, the motion was passed 4-3 (with Roku Mihinui, Kingi Biddle, Arapeta Tahana and Potaua Biasiny-Tule voting in favor AND Rene Mitchell requesting that her VOTE against this part of the motion be noted). The Mayor excused himself early so did not take part in the vote. Both Trevor Maxwell and Waereti Tait-Rolleston were present.

These were the recommendations as passed:

  1. a) That the committee recommend that Council agrees to fly both the New Zealand flag and the Tino Rangatiritanga flag on Waitangi Day, 6 February 2012 onward; and
  2. b) That should any of the Te Arawa Iwi wish to supply an example of their iwi flag, that it may be flown on Waitangi Day off the flag standard in Fenton Street;

TangataWhenua.com requested comment from RDC yesterday but no response was provided. Mainstream media did receive word when Deputy Mayor, Trevor Maxwell contacted Radio New Zealand with the assertion that because there was no consensus within TASC regarding the issue (that the Tino Rangatiratanga flag should fly) that the RDC decided to ignore their recommendation.

[sws_yellow_box box_size=”665″] He then issued the following press release: The recent decision of the council actually endorsed TASC’s recommendation that a Maori flag be flown on Waitangi Day at the council Civic Centre.

However, as it was clear that the Tino Rangatiratanga flag did not have full support as the flag to represent Te Arawa, the council agreed that Te Arawa should have the opportunity to identify a flag that would be acceptable to them.

The council agreed that Te Arawa be invited to undertake a process of consultation with local Maori to identify an acceptable flag, and this flag would be flown at the Civic Centre from next year’s (2013) Waitangi Day.

In the meantime the status quo would remain for this year’s Waitangi Day. [/sws_yellow_box]

Reported by Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule, TangataWhenua.com


1 thought on “Rotorua District Council snubs Te Arawa

  1. Colonials wont give an inch,but they are happy to tye you up in crap.Violations all the time,by governments and coucils.Why do we bother why arent we talking about the re-establishment of the Maori parliament which I think met every Autum pea up at Waitangi or to be decided,your thoughts

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