Thursday, January 29, 2009

Indigenous People's Maori Flag to Fly In New Zealand


"The decision to fly a Maori Flag on the Harbour Bridge is a win for common sense" said spokesperson Sina Ana Brown-Davis

"The aboriginal flag has flown in Australia for years, no hassles, no problems. 'Mainstream' thinking in this country around indigenous issues has, sadly, lagged behind for some time now with what is acceptable around the world"

Sina continues "A clear example of this is the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which prescribes the bare minimum human rights standards as they apply to Indigenous Peoples, an overwhelming majority of 143 governments adopted the Declaration at the United Nations General Assembly, a small minority of 4 opposed it, among them New Zealand"

"New Zealand needs to move forward and get up to speed with globally accepted norms as they apply to Indigenous Peoples. A largely uninformed slice of society continues to hold this country back, this ignorance of the issues will perpetuate the politics of division. Information and a willingness to understand are key to moving ahead."

"The Tino Rangatiratanga Flag represents our aspirations for self-determination particularly in this time of economic turbulence, with the introduction of the 90 Day probation bill introduced by this Government will mean that mean Maori workers will be hit hardest first, our communities are still recovering from the economic fundamentalism of the 80's. Our symbols give us hope" emphasized Sina

"Maori have a long tradition of struggle and resistance against colonization and the Crown sponsored theft of Maori land and resources. The Maori flag represents the ongoing struggle for Tino Rangatiratanga and the people who continue to resist the pressures of colonization and cultural and economic genocide.

There are many different meanings for Tino Rangatiratanga and the concept itself is part of a rich and ongoing debate in Maori society. The word 'tino' is an intensifier and the word 'rangatiratanga' broadly speaking relates to the exercise of 'chieftainship'. Its closest English translation is self-determination -although many also refer to it as 'absolute sovereignty' or Maori independence. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Maori have with 'Papatuanuku' (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous peoples for self determination.

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