15 Jan 2009

Harbour bridge debate shifts to which Maori flag

8:53 am on 15 January 2009

The prospect of a Maori flag adorning the Auckland harbour bridge on Waitangi Day in 2010 has prompted debate about which one to use.

The Government says there is no reason why a second flag can't be flown alongside the New Zealand flag, providing a consensus can be reached as to which best represents Maori.

Nga Puhi and New Zealand's first Maori Governor General, Sir Paul Reeves, applaud the move.

But they say the Tino Rangatiratanga flag should not be the one used, because it does not represent all Maori. They favour the United Tribes flag from 1837.

However, the Te Ata Tino Toa group says young Maori have come to identify themselves with the Tino Rangatiratanga design.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the Government's consideration is a turning point for New Zealand.

Dr Sharples says he has no preference as to which flag - just as long as Maori have the opportunity to have their say.