We created the Tino Rangatiratanga flag

“People ask: 'Do you have a flag?' I say, 'I am the flag’."

Linda Munn, Hiraina Marsden and Jan Dobson were the original designers of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag. Linda is the last surviving member of the trio and emphasises the flag was designed by kotahitanga, including the input of Te Kawariki, a Māori activist movement. 

“It came about by a collective, wasn’t by three artists. Hiraina Marsden came up with a doodle, that did the rounds and everyone kind of added their bit in and I just finished it,” says Linda. 

Designed in 1989 and first flown in 1990, the flag initially faced criticism from both Pākehā and some within the Māori community. 

However, by 2009, it gained official recognition as the national Māori flag and has become a significant symbol for Māori identity and sovereignty. 

"To wear Tino, the kara, you actually have to know why you're doing it, why you have it on, not because it looks good on your denim jacket."

This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi with funding from Te Māngai Pāho. Stay tuned for a new episode every week.

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