Tino rangatiratanga flag designer calls whakamā on anti-vax protestors

By Taroi Black

Every protest in lockdown has seen the tino rangatiratanga flag flown, sometimes upside down.

Linda Munn, one of three designers of the revered Māori symbol, has hit out at anti-vaccine protestors, for hijacking the tino rangatiratanga flag for the so-called Freedom coalition march.

The protests in Wellington on the front lawn of Parliament this week have been about opposing the Covid mandates. Munn believes it has been led by a ‘far right’ group, which she says is alarming in this climate.   

“I saw our tino rangatiratanga flag sitting side by side with that Trump abomination,” she says.

“I was quite disgusted.”

In 1989, Hiraina Marsden, Jan Dobson and Munn designed a flag that represented ‘By Māori for Māori’, which seeks cultural autonomy and sovereignty.

Because of that, tino rangatiratanga was identified through a nationwide consultation process as a national symbol for the reasons it was designed.

 “I felt good enough for our people to go there to express their freedom as Māori but not on that platform with those people.”

“If you want to make a stance, go back into your community and get vaccinated, you losers.”

The foreshore and seabed hikoi in 2004 was Munn's most memorable moment when the flag was proudly carried to Parliament and not a pākehā symbol to be seen.

“Nobody knew about me and the connection to Tino. To see it fly and to fly proudly and for a great kaupapa, that's on point. It's the complete opposite to the Wellington protest.”