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New Zealand Political Parties

Last modified: 2013-11-02 by ian macdonald
Keywords: new zealand | politics | party | maori party | maori | mana party |
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Parties in 1997

NZ parties' logos image by James Dignan, 22 Sep 1997

[ In 1997 ], six parties are represented in NZ's parliament: The government is a coalition of the right-of-centre National Party (NZ's conservative/republican equivalent) and New Zealand First, a slightly-further-right populist party. Occasionally supporting, occasionally against them are the right wing economic radicals of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers (read: Thatcherites) and the centrist United Party (which has just one seat of the 120 in NZ's parliament). The opposition is led by Labour (left of centre) and the Alliance, a coalition of five smaller parties including New Labour (a bit further left of centre), Mana Motuhake (Maori sovereignty) and the Greens. These logos are drawn freehand, so the lettering on the ACT logo and the fluttering flag of the Labour logo are a bit less wonderful than I would have liked.
James Dignan, 22 September 1997

The current government is a centre-left coalition of Labour (in their second term), United Future, and the Green Party. During the elections in July 2002, the former ruling National Party suffered its worst defeat ever.
Sam Lockton, 2002

Maori Party

[Maori Party flag] image by António Martins, 14 Nov 2005

As far as I know, only one New Zealand political party has a flag (although all have logos, of course) - The Maori party, a relatively new party aiming primarily at protecting the rights of the country's indigenous population (it looks like they will get four seats in the new parliament).

The flag is in the three traditional Maori colours, black, white and red - white, with the party's logo (a stylised version of its name) in black and brick red.
James Dignan, 17 September 2005

The following information about the party logo and flag was on the party website:

"Kia hiwa ra! Kia hiwa ra!

"Tďnei ra te Rōpū Māori te whakamohio atu kia koutou i to mātou nei tohu me ona whakamarama. Huri atu te pō! Nau mai te ao!

"At a hui of over 200 people at Hoani Waititi Marae on Sunday 23 May 2004 it was agreed that the interim name of the party shall be the 'Māori Party'.

"Our people were very mindful of this being a time of Matariki, a time of new beginnings, a time to pause and reflect on the past that was and the future that will be. Our customary practice of observing the star constellation Matariki connects us to land and sea food harvesting, to orientation and direction setting, whilst also acknowledging those who have passed before us. The Matariki is also a time of celebrating the upcoming Maramataka and the newly born. For all these reasons, it seemed the optimum time to launch our logo, and our corporate branding, for the Māori Party.

"Te ahunga mai o tēnei tohu - What's in our name?

"Our logo illustrates three key ideas: Māori - Our name, our foundation as a country, our values and aspirations for New Zealand; an affirmation of tangata whenua; Colours - Our corporate colours are adopted from the proverb of the first Māori King, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero; 'ao' - Literally means world. Our world, te Ao Māori, Aotearoa.

"Wiremu Barriball - Designer"

A couple of notes here: "Matariki" literally means the Pleiades - the rising of the Pleiades before dawn signals the start of the Maori year and occurs in late June (roughly at midwinter). "Maramataka" is the year's cycle, or a calendar. I have no idea what King Potatau's proverb was. "Tangata whenua" - literally "people of the land" is a name by which Maori refer to themselves as a people in political contexts. A "hui" is essentially a combination between a gathering of tribal leaders and a public meeting, and is often nowadays used to mean any meeting between Maori groups to discuss policies, usually accompanied by other cultural activities.
James Dignan, 19 September 2005

The proverb referred to relates to the colours of the flag. The proverb is:

Kotahi te kowhao o te ngira,
e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero.
I muri, kia mau ki te aroha, ki te ture me te whakapono.

There is but one eye in the needle through which
the white, black and red threads must pass.
After I am gone, hold fast to the love, to the law and to the faith.

You can see that it these colours that are used both on the Maori Party flag, and on the tino rangatiratanga flag.
Lachy Paterson, 29 June 2008

This logo consists of the word "māori" in bold serif lower case letters, all black but the "a" (but not the macron over it!), which is red; an untypographic stem protrudes from the lower right end of the "a" and overlaps the "o", with a white frimbriation; this stem is shaped like koru, a curling fern frond, which is the usual Maori symbol (see Maori flags).

I'm surprised to find medium red in use, instead of the darker shade consistently reported in our pages, as dark or darker than Union Jack red (which is easy and relevant to compare Maori flags with).

Google images points to an interesting photo showing this flag (but more oblong and with "PARTY" added as in the logo) along with the flag of Australia and of Australian Aboriginal people, at, but it is not available anymore. Google keeps a thumbnail here.
António Martins, 14 November 2005

I agree, the shade of red is a little surprising, but the shade of red used in Maori flags does vary. Some use a very dark brick-red, but most are close to Union Jack red (more specifically, as used on the British red ensign). I've seen the Tino Rangatiratanga flag in a brighter red, though, similar to that on the Maori Party flag.
James Dignan, 14 November 2005

[Maori Party flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 9 October 2013

There is also a variant flag with black and white colors reversed. It was used in the 2008 election campaign, together with the flag with white field, as shown here:
with the photo of a vehicle decorated with both flags:
and an close-up photo of black flag only:

Tomislav Todorovic, 9 October 2013

Mana Party

[Maori Party flag] image by Stuart Park, 7 February 2012

Stuart Park sent me images of flags seen at Waitangi, New Zealand, during this year's Waitangi Day commemorations on February 6. The Mana party is a new political party formed about a year ago in a schism from the Maori party; the Maori party has been in coalition with NZ's right-of-centre National party, and has, in the opinion of many Maori, moved away from its main support base, which - like many indigenous-based political groups - is well to the left of centre. As such, a split occurred in the part, with Maori party MP Hone  Harawira leaving the party to form Mana. At last year's general election the Maori party saw a significant drop in support (from 2.4% to 1.4% of the overall vote; the Mana party polled 1.1%). Harawira comes from a family of prominent Maori activists; his mother Titewhai Harawira has also been a long time political campaigner.