Hana O’Reagan has been appointed by the Government to a panel charged with engaging the public on a possible new flag for New Zealand.
The academic and te reo Māori advocate is one of a few notable Māori to have been chosen for the panel of 12 New Zealanders nominated by a cross-party group of MPs.
The Ngāi Tahu descendant said today that she is honoured to be appointed, and is pleased that indigenous representatives will be included in the discussion.
Other members include historian, Malcolm Mulholland, film and television producer Julie Christie, Olympian and Commonwealth gold medallist Beatrice Faumuina and Former All Black captain and coach Sir Brian Lochore.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says he pleased with the panel’s independence, calibre and experience, “Each member has committed to undertake the flag consideration process carefully, respectfully and with no presumption in favour of change.”
The panel will meet for the first time in March and plans to discuss an engagement process which will begin in May. They will invite submissions on designs or ideas on a possible alternative flag and shortlist those submissions. The public will be able to rank those designs by vote.
Whether or not the winning flag will become the national flag will be determined in a second binding referendum. It will run against the current flag in a First Past the Post voting system next year.
This process will give New Zealanders the rare privilege of having a say on one of the most important symbols of our nation,” Mr English says.
“I hope New Zealanders will take the opportunity to listen and talk to each other and consider the design suggestions that come forward before making their minds up and taking part in the referendums.”