Why Māori voters overwhelmingly rejected the flag referendum

avatr Joe Trinder


The seven Māori electorates had the highest rejection for flag change in the country. The most resistant electorate was Te Tai Tokerau voting 78.5% against flag change. Even former MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira made an appeal to the electorate for change. His anti colonial argument for change made sense and I changed my vote based on his argument. It doesn’t make sense why Māori voters would support the Union Jack considering Hone Heke chopped the colonial “Butchers Apron” down. Several Tai Tokerau voters felt the alternative flag was such an unattractive option, might as well stick with the old one.

hone heke Many Māori voters are disgruntled with the National Government and for good reason the discrimination against Māori  is at an all time high during the flag debate. In fact the National bias media discriminated against Māori  and the Prime Minister condoned that discrimination. John Key represents Farmers and urban home owners on over valued real estate. Unfortunately in this referendum he needed to bring all New Zealanders together including Māori.
The Kiwimeter survey by state broadcaster Television New Zealand. In the survey the question was asked “Māori should not receive any special treatment.“. This question had an ulterior motive to condemn Treaty settlements where billions of dollars of confiscated real estate is offering minimal compensation of a few million dollars less than 2% of its current value . What if the Kiwimeter survey asked this racist question “Pakeha should not receive any special treatment.” the Prime Minister would have fired the CEO of TVNZ immediately. Although that question has more merit considering the generational wealth inherited by the descendants of British colonists on the backs of Māori  land confiscations.
The Prime Minister made this statement in regards to the Treaty of Waitangi “It was the foundation stone of where we were equal and treated equally“. John Key the Prime Minister is out of touch with history of his own country with this colonial rhetoric. The Treaty of Waitangi was designed to protect indigenous rights from colonial land thefts. More importantly Ngapuhi only signed the Māori version of the Treaty and never ceded sovereignty.
There is a fear amongst some Māori that New Zealand Aotearoa becoming a Republic puts degree of separation Treaty settlements will not be settled fairly and land not returned to its rightful owners. Before we start the New Zealand Republic debate we need to start the colonial land theft debate.
On Waitangi weekend PM’s loyal propagandists Mike Hosking and Paul Henry slagged off Māori considerably in demanding the PM abandon Ti Tii Marae . How do you welcome someone on your marae, who signed the TPPA compact with foreign countries, undermined the mana of the Treaty and the sovereignty of Aotearoa , the day before the annual commemoration of the “Treaty partnership?” In exceptional circumstances, like rape, murder and theft when tikanga protocols do not apply to the manuhiri.
The Kyle Lockwood flag was given an entire week on the Harbour bridge although it represented no Nation. The Tino Rangatiratanga Flag was only permitted 24 hours on the Harbour bridge yet it represents the Māori nation. Why should Māori voters take the Kyle Lockwood flag seriously when the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag is consistently condemned by critics as being separatist.

Some may ask why wasn’t the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag in contention as our National Flag? “The Tino flag has its own mana, identity and national recognition amongst many Māori. Papatuanuku (red), Ranginui (black) and the koru of Te Ao Marama (white) remind us of our responsibilities to our taiao and simple enduring values from our past to guide our rangatahi and future mokopuna. The Tino flag is not owned by the state , it is a taonga Māori and is not to be vetted by others who mock Māori sovereignty. Māori are comfortable with the tino flag- which is a modest statement of Māori identity and is not separatist nor a critiicism of anyone else . Aotearoa is not ready for Tino, for Māori landlords, it’s not even ready to replace the union jack. ”
The Feed the Kids bill was shut down by the National government yet they managed to find $26 million for a re-branding exercise. There is a housing crisis throughout the country. In the eyes of many struggling families this was a government with their priorities wrong.
The argument was made that voters rejected the flag based on a dislike of John Key.. The counter argument is John Key didn’t establish an unbiased atmosphere of nation building but a political spin doctor driven campaign recruiting celebrities as a propaganda tool to sway the argument. Key was highly critical of loyal National supporters e.g the RSA and for the first time National supporters were exposed to the propaganda and spin progressive’s complain about.
Until the National Government can make genuine efforts to suppress racial discrimination against Māori  voters in society it can expect no cooperation or goodwill from Māori voters. The Prime Minister was taught a hard lesson for any future referendum if you don’t have Māori support you will lose the initiative.