Skip to main content

Ara Flies the Māori Flag

With Waitangi day fast approaching, Ara Institute of Canterbury will be raising the Māori flag street-side on the Madras street campus and, for the first time, will leave the flag flying as a symbol of commitment to equity for Māori.

The Institute’s plan is to leave the New Zealand flag flying on one pole with the Tino Rangatiratanga flag on the other side, with both flanking a middle pole which will support any other flag that might be timely and important to raise during the year.  

“This arrangement of the two flags flanking the middle pole (and any special flag that flies there from time to time) is an appropriate way by which Ara can reflect the spirit of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and signal our commitment to become a Te Tiriti led institution,” says Te Marino Lenihan, Ara Kaiarahi and Director of Māori Achievement. 

Ara, alongside national tertiary education body Te Pūkenga, views the achievement of equitable outcomes for Māori people in education, employment and income as critically important.  

The flag itself, known as ‘Tino Rangatiratanga’ has been recognised by the Government and Māori as the preferred national Māori flag. Now, it represents mutual respect amid a shared nationhood. It also incorporates colour elements symbolic of the role that education plays towards the achievement of Māori equity.

The black on the flag represents Te Korekore, the realm of Potential Being, which has been associated with ‘unlimited potential’; the white signifies Te Ao Mārama, the realm of Being and Light which encompasses the natural world and the concepts of emergence and reality, and the red is Te Whai Ao, the realm of Coming into Being; the unfolding of the world of light. The overall concept of potential becoming real and light dawning upon it creates a potent symbol of a person’s transformation through education. The koru design element evokes a curled fern frond which also represents new beginnings and hope for the future, as when people embark upon an educational journey. 

The raising and retention of the flying Tino Rangatiratanga flag at Ara is designed to serve as a potent visual reminder of Māori empowerment through education, on Waitangi Day and beyond.