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45
FLAGS
Ships had flags.
Mission stations had flags.
Some traders flew their colours.
Busby organised a flag for New Zealand,
Alligator brought a choice of three. Chiefs gathered
at Waitangi — "Moetara," they cried, "you choose"
and he did. Well, that's how
Moetara told it back home presenting
Charles Davis's family with his choice,
a crescent moon with stars they displayed
'a few yards from our cottage, on
the occasion of any new arrival in port'
in Hokianga.
                    Davis didn't notice
the chosen flag was not like that at all.
You know the one: white ground, red cross,
in the top left quarter another red cross
on white with white stars on blue.
You couldn't miss the christian crosses
or the British red/white/blue and you don't
miss any touch of black.
                                        Moetara didn't tell
about the big gathering, who was allowed
in to vote and who wasn't which caused
lots of bad feeling or how pressure was
put on some to swing the vote away
from a red/white/blue stars and stripes.
Papahurihia had the message:
On Saturday run up your flag. Yet what
flag was it? Was there only one?
Flags held power. Masts were powerful.
Each settlement had a flag of its own.
     When people were tojoin together
for especially (Sunday) service
a white flag was flown.
                                   White is good.
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