Whether Pakeha see two flags as divisive or unifying is directly proportionate to the extent of hangups about race. Those who have difficulty relating to Maori, especially if they are dark skinned, physically large and/or overtly ethnic and tribal, and have not spent much time on a marae, will see the flag as separatist simply out of fear of difference and diversity. Fortunately, this lot are in rapid decline. New Zealand will be 50 per cent brown by 2030. Those who are at ease with themselves, respect Maori and like other cultures will see the flags as representative of an over-arching unity, of every colour, hue and creed. They are the New Zealanders of the future.
The flying of a Maori flag does not worry me IF it is a unifying move. Only time will tell.
What interested me here is the statement that by 2030 50 percent of New Zealanders will be brown. According to Statistics NZ data, by 2026 the population will be 5,517,600. European or other will make up 62.2 percent, Maori 14.8, Asian 14.3 and Pacific 8.7. Apart from the Asian number, not much change from today.
But what bothers me is the talk about skin colour in the first place. The title of the piece is not only a reference to flag colour but pigment. What is Rawiri Taonui getting at here? That a group exists that doesn't like Maori because they are brown, but that group, or "that lot", couldn't include people who are also brown? That Maori, Asian and Pacific people will live in a state of harmony and mutual respect because they are all brown?
He is saying that people who respect Maori and like other cultures will see flying both flags as unifying. Maybe. I would probably fit this group (with lots of provisos). And yet....
Why bring colour into it? Does he think that the more brown the country gets the more unity there will be? What, then, about the non-brown people progressively becoming a minority? Or should we hit the magic 50 percent and stop right there?
Then we can all live happily ever after?