Pou Whenua - Pou Haki
The Sovereign Flag

Prior tothe useofconventionalflags,Maoriused tribalmarkingsinthe formof PouWhenua(Land Marks)shrouded inancientritualsand karakia(chants),performedbytohunga (priests).  Before1834,tallpoles decorated with feathersmarkedlandingplaces.Thefeathersshowed which chiefguaranteedthesafetyofanyvisiting ship.  Withthedevelopment ofInternational relationsinstigated throughtrade andcommerceinthemid 1700'sbetweenvisiting sealers,whalers,tradersandMaori,thenecessityfor Maoritoberecognised byother sovereignnations around the worldwasinevitable.

KoHuiarauships carried theirowncolours,which weredyedmuka(fine flax)inthecoloursofthegiantHokioi (nativepre-historic eagle)ofred,white,blue/black and yellow/gold.  By1831traderelationsbetweenNew Zealand and Englandwaswellestablished.  After aBritishAdmiralstationed in the WestIndiesconfiscated a KoHuiarau shipbecauseit wasnotrecognised foritscolours,KingWilliamIV,on request from a visiting entourageof chiefsin 1832,grantedtheNativepeople ofNewZealandtherighttoa flag
thatwasto berecognised byallFarEastnavalestablishmentsastheflagofaSovereign State.  Thusallowing Maoriowned shipsto trade andhavefreeaccesstoBritishportsworld wide,underthe protection ofKing HenryVIII HerbalistCharter

KingWilliam IVinstructed theNewSouthWales Government toinsert an officialnoticeinthe NSWGovernmentGazettetohonour the Maori Sovereignflagin thesame wayasanyother Nationalflagishonoured.Thenoticewas officiallyinsertedin 1834.

TheBritish residentJames Busbywas instructed to organisethe flagtobemanufacturedinNew South Walesoncethe chiefshad decidedonadesign.  There wereoriginallythreedesignstochoosefrom.

Original Flag:

Red St George Cross with black
border on blue background
with four white eight point stars

This was the accepted flag from the three designs in 1832.

Other Proposed Designs:

Red St George cross on black background,pierced with four 8-point stars.  A gold insignia with the letters W IV R in the centre with the words Te Runanga Ko Huiarau,1834,around the outside.

This flag was not accepted by the Ariki of Ko Huiarau because King William IV insignia was placed on top of the black,which was interpreted as the Crown of England placing its mana over the Maori Nation.

Also not accepted:

Same design as previous flag, but without the insignia of King William IV.  Ko Huiarau tradition says this flag was not accepted either, because it was too similar to the other.

Ensigns within Ko Huiarau

8 Point star: - Represents Maori Sovereign,the Taiopuru,Te Ane and Te Anu (female/male issue).

7 Point Star:- Represents the Arikiand Confederation of Chiefs of the United Tribes.

6 Point Star: - Represents the Awaroa Waka (Native Navy), Awaroa Ehoia (Native Military), Awaroa Ehoia Herehere (prison Officers).

5 Point Star: - represents Nga Hapu 0 Ko Huiarau.

1861 - Change of Design

According to the history of Ko Huiarau, Taranaki Maori requested their input into the design.  In 1861 the black border was replaced by a white border indicating the white feathers (Te Raukura) worn by Taranaki.

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