Mar 31, 2015

Māori people (New Zealand)

Now and then, the flag of the Māori, native Polynesian people from New Zealand, appears in media. These time, in the course of NZ flag debate, due to the upcoming referenda — even tough that design probably won't be considered, as it originally represents an ethnic group of the country, not the country as a whole.

This is the most famous Māori flag:

The colors of the flag — black, red (actually, red ochre) and white — are the official colors of the country, what many people out of the island don't know. The color symbolism in the flag is very significative: the black color presents the Te Korekore (the absolute nothingness) and Rangi (the heaven, the sky-father); red represents Te Whei Ao (coming into being) and Papatuanuku (the earth-mother); white stands for Te Ao Marama (realm of being and light), purity, enlightenment and harmony.

The design thus symbolize the Māori creation myth surrounding Rangi (the sky-father) and Papa (the earth-mother), as well as an ideal of harmony, in a very graphic and elegant way. The spiral pattern is similar to a koru and can remark the New Zealand's name in Māori language: Aotearoa, "the land of the long white cloud".

This flag is known as Tino rangatiratanga, an expression hard to be translated, but often did as "absolute sovereignty". This flag was designed by Hiraina Marsden, Jan Smith and Linda Munn, in 1990.

As I said in first paragraph, I have no hopes that it will become the next NZ flag, but the vexillologist inside myself would be more than happy if a design as beautiful as this was chosen.

Comments and suggestions!

As soon as the designs chosen for the referenda were announced, I'll return to the trend.