coolnz.net – Flag of the Independent (or United) Tribes of New Zealand
The United Tribes flag was one of three designs put to northern Maori chiefs by James Busby on 20th March 1834, in order to comply with trade and shipping requirements. It was officially recognised as the national flag of New Zealand, and is still important to Maori today. When the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, the British decided the Union Jack would be the official flag. The Maori population was around 70,000 at that time. British and Europeans: about 2,000.
Some people think the United Tribes flag should be our national flag, but it doesn't instantly say New Zealand – any more than our present flag does. The design originally came from a Church Missionary Society flag, and it was also used by Shaw Savill – a British shipping company that began in 1858, operating services between Britain and New Zealand, and ports along the way.