28 Jan 2014

Push to raise Tino Rangatiratanga flag

6:31 am on 28 January 2014

Te Ata Tino Toa has asked the Department of Corrections to fly the haki, or flags, at prison Maori Focus Units and is continuing to push Education Minister Hekia Parata to allow the sovereignty symbol to be raised at schools.

Group spokesperson Te Ao Pritchard says it has received individual school support for flying the flag at schools, a move she says would allow students to see both the New Zealand and Maori flag and help show them the kura is supporting Maori development and aspiration.

The idea of flying the flag at prison Maori Focus Units on Waitangi Day grew from negative comments about symbols of sovereignty made by the New Zealand First MP Winston Peters during the Ratana church celebrations last week.

Ms Pritchard claims he suggested the flag represents racial segregation, when it actually symbolises Maori aspirations.

The group then came up with the idea to fly the flags at correctional facilities with Maori focus units, because they run kaupapa Maori programmes to connect inmates with their culture.

The Department of Corrections runs five Maori focus units, and Te Ata Tino Toa is urging it to consider the request.