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The Tino Rangatiratanga Māori Flag has evolved since its first creation in 1989, and has since become a symbolism of Māori Sovereignty to a generation of Māori who weren't even born when the hake was initiated by Te Kawariki and its members. Tino Rangatiratanga has become an epitome of Maori and their journey for Sovereignty, recognition and acknowledgement of the injustices of previous colonists systems.

After being created by Hiraina Marsden, Jan Dobson, and Linda Munn, the flag was then first unveiled on Waitangi Day (February 6th) of 1990 at the 150th commemorations of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Linda Munn on the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag

Released 5 August 2020

Ever wondered about the history behind our beloved Tino Rangatiratanga flag? Check out this straight up kōrero with Linda Munn, the last surviving designer, about some of the history of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag which was designed way back in 1989!

Mana Tangata: Linda Munn

Released 24 September 2017

Artist Linda Munn was one of the three creators of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag. These days, she is pretty content teaching art in Tauranga. Te Ahi Kaa catches up with her for a kōrero at the Toi Oho Mai Institute of Technology.

00:00 / 26:58


Black represents Te Korekore the realm of Potential Being. It represents the long darkness, from whence the world emerged. It represents the heavens, the male element is formless, floating and passive.

White represents Te Ao Marama, the realm of Being and Light. It is the Physical World. White symbolises purity, harmony, enlightenment, balance and air rising.

The Koru, curling frond shape, represents the unfolding of new life, that everything is reborn and continues. It promises renewal and hope for the future.

The design can also be interpreted as a white cloud mass over Aotearoa.

Red represents Te Whei Ao, the realm of Coming into Being. It symbolises female, active, flashing, south, yelling, emergence, forests, land, gestation and spirals. Red is Papatuanuku, Earth Mother, the sustainer of all living things. Red is the colour of earth from which the first human was made.

The design represents the balance of natural forces with each other. To live life is to live with nature. To appreciate life is to understand nature.

Design by winners of National Maori Flag Competition. Haraina Marsden, Jan Smith, Linda Munn. 1990

Sourced: Original Poster "The Maori Flag, A symbol of liberation and identity", 1990. Provided by Linda Munn.

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Nga Uri o


Ngā Uri o Muturangi affirms ancient ancestral connections through the wheke or octopus that led Kupes adventures and discovery around Aotearoa and whose tentacles span whakapapa Māori, past and future, to advance the development of indigenous Māori customary skin marking, tattoo - tā tatau and art practices.

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Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust

229A Maunganui Road,

Mount Maunganui 3116

Bay of Plenty

(07) 213 2213

©2020 Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust


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