January 28, 2016
Call to delay flag choice until Maori mainstream
A veteran Maori journalist and activist says selection of a new flag should be put off until 2040.
In March voters will get the chance to see whether New Zealand should shift to the black and blue fern flag or stick with the current design.
Haare Williams, who was part of the team that organised the 1990 sesquicentennial commemorations, says those sort of events create a platform for looking at things like flags and national identity.
He says a highlight of 1990 was Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe’s Waitangi Day speech before the Queen, where he challenged how Maori had been marginalised.
Maori are still marginalised, but by the 200th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi there could have been a couple of Maori prime ministers and Maori should be far more prominent in the country’s economy and society.
"I’m raising my own flag that the discussion should hover around 2040 as the right time to change our flag, to change our national image and there are portends to say that is good timing, that we have a treaty that is like no other treaty in the world and we can celebrate a lot of other things in 2040. Now is not the time to change the flag," Mr Williams says.
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