Description of Designs Used


Greenstone Pendant Pikorua Design

This design has been based on a pounamu (greenstone or New Zealand jade) tāonga (treasure, in this case a pendant) given to me by my wife as an engagement present. The design is by Riki Manuel of Riki Rangi Studios and is inspired by traditional symbols of growth and life. The word piko is given to a new fern shoot. This design has two (rua) ferns curling towards each other depicting the friendship between two people. Some of the beauty of pounamu can be seen in this backlit detail:

Detail of veins within the greenstone


Riki Rangi Studios, The Arts Centre, PO Box 845, Christchurch, New Zealand. Ph (03) 366-4943.

The above design and explanation is based on work by Riki Rangi Studios, 1998.


Tukutuku Pattern with Patiki and Poutama designs.

This design is inspired by tukutuku, woven panels, which are found inside meeting houses. The central diamond pattern is called pātiki, or flounder. It represents plenty, with the diamond inside the diamond representing many layers of abundance. The staircase pattern in the background is called poutama or ascending steps. The brown and green colours have been chosen to represent nature. The white and red of the pātiki represent purity and strength as well as the blood which connects us to our ancestors and family.

This design and explanation copyright © 1999 Gavin Kingsley.

Te Hakituatahi ō Aotearoa (The First Flag of New Zealand)

Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand

Te Hakituatahi ō Aotearoa (the First Flag of New Zealand) was first hoisted in 1834 and gazetted in the New South Wales Gazette on 19 August 1835 as the flag of The United Tribes of New Zealand or Te Wakaminenga ō ngā Hapu ō Nu Tireni. Up until that date, New Zealand built ships were not registered and hence received no international recognition and could legally be treated as pirates. When the Sir George Murray was seized and sold and her cargo impounded in 1830, something had to be done. On 28 October 1835 New Zealand declared her independence under this flag, which became known as "Flag of the Confederation of Chiefs of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the Crown of England".

The image above has been drawn based on The New Zealand Official Yearbook 1998. This flag can also be viewed in Te Papa Tongarewa, the museum of New Zealand, in the Signs of a Nation exhibit.

When first gazetted, the description neglected the black border on the smaller St George's cross and did not specify the number of points of the stars. Hence various variations on this flag have been flown as the flag of the United Tribes. Two such variations have appeared on this web site until I tracked down the 1998 Yearbook.

The heraldic description (quoting from the Yearbook): "on a white field, a red St George's cross, in the upper canton, next to the staff on a blue field, a smaller St George's cross in red, severed from the blue by a fimbriation of black, half the width of the red and in the centre of each blue quarter a white eight point star."

This flag was officially replaced as the Flag of New Zealand by the Union Jack when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

Because this flag was not designed by Māori people (but rather presented as one of three options to Māori by Europeans), there was a competition in 1990 to design a new Māori flag. This flag is now known as the tino rangatiratanga flag/flag of Māori sovereignity. Follow this link for an explanation.

Modern Flag of Maaori Sovereignity

This explanation copyright ©1999, 2000 Gavin Kingsley.

The Flag of Aotearoa/New Zealand

New Zealand Flag

This flag was introduced in 1869 and adopted as the national flag in 1902. It is the British Blue Ensign with a stylised Southern Cross. It is similar to the Australian flag, which has white stars, but patriotism would have me point out that the Australian design was only created in 1901 and not given royal assent until 1954.

This explanation copyright © 1999 Gavin Kingsley.

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This page last updated 28 December 2000. Contact me. Site History.