The flag of the indigenous Polynesian people of mainland New Zealand: The Maori. East Polynesian people started arriving in New Zealand as early as 1320. They developed their own distinct culture including language, mythology and performing arts.
As more and more European settlers (mainly English) arrived, at first the relationship was cordial and cooperative. As time moved on this affiliation went from stressed to outright hostility. Animosity led to violence and the Maori would not back down. Europeans seized, grabbed, stole, millions of acres of Maori land. Once again the Maori would not back down and open violence was common. Finally in 1840 Queen Victoria in a move that Britain hoped would calm things down called a tribunal and along with 500 Maori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi.
Article two of the treaty states: “The Queen of England agrees to protect the Chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures.”
Similar to treaties the USA instituted with our indigenous people, it did not work well for the Maori. Tensions remained high and 120 years after the Waitangi treaty, protests over race relations led to renewed violence. Now 60 years after the 1960’s protests, New Zealand is finally officially recognizing the importance of the Maori contribution to their country.
The Maori Flag is called the ‘Tino Rangatiratanga, which translates as ‘absolute sovereignty’. “It uses black, white, and red as national colours of New Zealand. The design of the flag references the Māori creation story of Rangi and Papa, suggesting the sky, the earth, and the physical realm of light and being, which was created when they were separated.” “The official recognition of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag resulted from a campaign by indigenous rights advocacy group Te Ata Tino Toa. The group applied for the Tino Rangatiratanga flag to fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.”
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