Prominent New Zealand flags and changing notions of identity : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Prominent flags have played an important role in signalling and generating collective identities in New Zealand’s history, but to date there has been little scholarly research in this field. This thesis investigates factors that have shaped attitudes towards prominent flags in New Zealand, and to what extent have they changed over time. It does so with reference to their role in promoting national identity in general, as well as investigating the role of flags in Māori communities. As such, there is also a particular focus on the role of flags acting as symbols of unity and dissent. The thesis argues that flags were adopted early by Māori and have continued to reflect a spectrum of Māori identities; that transnational influences are present regarding prominent flags in New Zealand, especially the influence of Australia; that the New Zealand Flag and Union Jack reflect a dual identity and a period of New Zealand identity coined as ‘recolonization’; that the New Zealand Flag is an example of an ‘invented tradition’ that was particularly prominent in arguing against changing the New Zealand Flag during the 2015/2016 flag referenda; and finally, it argues that New Zealand could be identified as a ‘teenager’ of ‘Mother Britain’, given the increasing number of citizens who are comfortable replacing the current New Zealand Flag.
Flags, Nationalism, New Zealand, History, Maori (New Zealand people), Ethnic identity, Haki, Tuakiri, Kōrero nehe, Māori Doctoral Thesis