In 2007 Te Ata Tino Toa applied to Tranzit New Zealand to have the Maori Sovereignty flag flown on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day.
Tranzit declined permission on the grounds that it wasn’t a UN recognized national flag, despite having previously flown the Team New Zealand flag, which would have failed the same test. So in 2008 Te Ata Tino Toa decided to make an enormous 7 x 14m flag and fly it over the bridge anyway.
I’m genuinely glad that now in 2009 John Key has agreed to consider the request again, even though he’s deferring a decision for this year until a broader conversation happens amongst Maori about whether the flag enjoys widespread support across Iwi. I guess that’s fair, although Te Ata Tino Toa have pointed out in the past that it’s far from established whether the New Zealand flag enjoys universal endorsement from Maori either.
Let’s hope Key’s willingness to address issues of Maori representation is sincere and not just procrastination or tactical deference to coalition partners.
This year Te Ata Tino Toa have put out this release about posting Key a t-shirt, addressed in Te Reo, with the Maori Sovereignty flag on it for him to wear on Waitangi Day, presumably in light of his penchant for wearing symoblic t-shirts there in the past. Should make for some more great photo-ops.
Update: Key passes on t-shirt.