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Maori flag issue needs settling by 2015, says Rotorua mayor

29 January 2014

Maori flag issue needs settling by 2015, says Rotorua mayor

The question of which Maori flag Rotorua District Council should fly at the Civic Centre on Waitangi Day has been a long-standing issue of contention which needs to be finally settled by Waitangi Day next year, says Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick.

The issue has been the subject of ongoing debate for a number of years, with some residents asking for the Tino Rangatiratanga Maori flag to be flown on Waitangi Day while others want an alternative flag flown.

“Our council previously agreed to let Te Arawa consult with their community and come back to us with their recommendation on a flag that we could fly on our council headquarters on Waitangi Day.

“My view is that Waitangi Day provides an opportunity to symbolically recognise the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the subsequent partnership between Maori and the Crown. In Rotorua that partnership has been significant and unique, with Te Arawa contributing generously to the early establishment of the town and providing large areas of land for many of the outstanding facilities we enjoy today.

“However we acknowledge that many local people feel strongly that the Tino Rangatiratanga flag is not representative of Te Arawa and we respect that view. So we’re urging Te Arawa to make a concerted effort to come up with a design of their own that reflects the unique and special character of our local iwi - and to have it ready ahead of Waitangi Day next year.

“In Rotorua we’re in a new and refreshed era of local government and our council is committed to strengthening the understanding, cooperation and partnership we have with Te Arawa. This includes giving new life and serious intent to the expression on our district coat of arms – ‘tatou tatou,’ or ‘we together,’” said Mrs Chadwick.

“We will be talking with our local Te Arawa representatives, and taking advice from our Te Pukenga Koeke Maori advisory group. I will also make sure that my colleagues on council have the opportunity to discuss the matter and to air their views.

“But the invitation remains for Te Arawa to come up with a unique Maori flag design that they feel symbolises their iwi and the relationship they have with Rotorua. For our part we are keen to celebrate that relationship and to fly a flag on Waitangi Day that commemorates Te Arawa’s enormous contribution to this city and district.”

ENDS

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