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Updated History of New Zealands Flags

On Waitangi Day 2010 the national Maori flag will for the first time fly over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It will also fly at Parliament, Premier House, the Governor-General's official residences in Auckland and Wellington, and a number of government departments.

Ahead of this historic event historians at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage have compiled a full history of New Zealand’s flags. The entry features a section on all of New Zealand’s official flags, and detail on recent history around the adoption of a national flag for Maori.

The national Maori flag was designed for a competition run by Maori independence organisation, Te Kawariki, in the run up to 1990 commemorations of the sesquicentenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Members of the group had seen the Aboriginal flag during a trip to Australia in 1982, and began to consider developing something similar. As one of their members explains:

It was everywhere - on t-shirts, on flagpoles, on hats, on bags, on walls, and even spray-painted onto a couple of broken down cars on the road. A stunning and powerful symbol that required no words, no explanations, no descriptions. It was just there – in your face, behind your back, beneath your feet, waving above your head, and watching you from the sidelines. You just couldn't ignore it. The flag. It blew us away.

I remember vowing that one day we would have a flag of our own - a symbol of our struggle for Maori independence.

The full entry is available at the following link:

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage administers legislation governing New Zealand’s flags. Further information about flag usage and protocol can be found on the Ministry’s corporate website:

Updated on 23rd July 2015