5 Feb 2015

Councils, iwi debate flags for Waitangi Day

8:21 pm on 5 February 2015

After four years, Te Arawa still has not picked a tribal flag to fly alongside the New Zealand flag in Rotorua to commemorate Waitangi Day.

The New Zealand and Tino Rangatiratanga flags flying in Wellington.

The New Zealand and Tino Rangatiratanga flags - pictured here flying in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The whakaaro was raised by the Rotorua District Council's Te Arawa Standing Committee in 2011.

United Tribes of New Zealand

United Tribes of New Zealand Photo: Tim Parkinson CC-BY 2.0

The local authority, now known as the Rotorua Lakes Council, will fly the United Tribes of New Zealand flag next to the national one from the civic centre.

It is the third time in a row it has been used.

The council opted for the United Tribes of New Zealand flag after a request from Te Arawa leaders, who did not want the Tino Rangatiratanga flag, which is used by other local government organisations.

The council said it was an interim measure until Te Arawa kaumatua picked a flag.

Te Pukenga Koeke o Te Arawa chair Arama Pirika said it had not selected a flag yet and the elders were still considering options.

Te Arawa has more than 80 tribal flags.

The group has also considered the idea of creating a new flag.

Meanwhile, the Christchurch City Council intends to fly the New Zealand flag on Waitangi Day but is still waiting advice as to the appropriateness of flying any other flag.

The council last year wanted to fly a Maori flag on Waitangi Day for the first time but was unable to make a decision about which one in time for the holiday last year.

A council spokesperson said it was seeking advice from Mahaanui Kurataiao (MKT) about which flag would be appropriate.

The Tino Rangatiratanga flag has been recognised by the Government as the preferred national Maori flag since 2009 but MKT did not consider that flag to be representative of iwi in the South Island.

The council debated the issue before Waitangi Day last year and decided they would not be rushed into a decision.