Saturday, August 14, 2010

Flag Staff War, New Zealand

From 1845 unto 1872 this part of New Zealand history is known as the New Zealand Land Wars. It was basically a conflict between British Colonials and indigenous peoples. The first year of conflict opened with the vexillologically romantic Flag Staff War.

The Flag Staff War took place on the more tropical Northern Island. As had happened in Canada, US, and Australia, a cultural clash between European settlers and a technologically primitive peoples inevitably led to war.

In 1840 New Zealand was formally annexed to the British Empire. However as relations between 'aboriginals' and UK settler's evolved in an unbalanced way, a Native Chief Hone Heke chopped down a British Flag on 'Flag Staff Hill.' But the colonists managed to erect it at least three more times, each time it was chopped down.

The colonists won the war but gave up on raising a flag pole. They found it prudent to swallow their pride rather that incite more conflict and death. The colonists had the advantage of high technology and were also allied with other rival Native Kiwi peoples.

The Flag Staff War is also called the Northern War and Hone Hoke's Rebellion. Nearly 200 persons were killed in this war. This conflict wasn't simply about flags, but the vexillological escapades are what is best remembered.

Long after the conflict had subsided a flag staff was put in place which you can see today.

Ironically the HMS North Star participated in this war, but since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere one can't see the North Star. For Aboriginal Maroi the concept of a constant North Star had to be taken on faith.

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