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Te Kooti's war flag


Many Māori movements adopted distinctive flags. This is Te Kooti’s war flag. The meaning of the symbols on it has been much debated. The letters ‘WI’ probably stand for the Holy Spirit, Wairua Tapu. The crescent moon is a tohu (portent) of a new world; the red cross is the fighting cross of the Archangel Michael, who appeared to Te Kooti in a vision in the 1850s. The moon and cross reiterate the first two elements of Te Wepu, a flag which Te Kooti captured from Ngāti Kahungunu in 1868.

How to cite this page

Te Kooti's war flag, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated