One Auckland-based Harry Styles fan had an “out of this world moment” when the pop star took her national Māori flag onstage and ran around waving it during his concert on Tuesday Night.
Kylie Heihei, 25, had been queueing at the stadium since 7.30am and had a prime spot at the front of the crowd where the pop star took the Tino Rangatiratanga flag - which is used by many Māori as a national flag.
Security had warned her she could not attempt to give Styles the flag but she made sure to wave it every time he walked by.
“He asked me to throw it to him ... and [later] during [the song] Kiwi he grabbed the flag and gave it back to me,” she told Stuff.
I am Māori, and really wanted to be represented as Harry’s done it around the world ... It’s so cool. Māori culture is so special to me. Being able to see that represented on stage with Harry, it was an out-of-this-world moment.”
Heihei posted a video to TikTok and received a number of comments from other proud Māori.
“After the concert, because Harry touched it, security was like, no you can’t have it [and took it from me],” she said.
Styles further embraced Māori culture during his performance singing a te reo Māori classic.
In a video posted to TikTok, the British heartthrob could be seen leading his 40,000 strong crowd at Mt Smart Stadium into a chorus of Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi, a 1950s Kiwi classic popular in classrooms and at sporting matches.
Styles sang the opening line in te reo Māori before concert-goers joined in, finishing the song off with a hearty “auē!” for the pop star.
Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi is also the song that plays during the ads for the Stats NZ Census, which Styles confirmed he had completed.
Tino Rangatiratanga was designed in 1989, and references the creation story of Ranginui, the sky father in Māori mythology, and Papatūānuku, the Earth mother.
In English, Tino Rangatiratanga translates to “highest chieftainship”, but can also mean “absolute sovereignty” and “self-determination”.
There is no English term that fully expresses its meaning.
Styles has waved a number of culturally significant flags during his Love on Tour stops, including the Australian Aboriginal flag, the Palestinian flag and the LGBT+ flag.