Māori flag to fly at Women's World Cup

The Tino Rangatiratanga Māori flag, and those of First Nations Australians will fly over all Women's Football World Cup Games.  Photo / NZME / FILE

The FIFA Women's World Cup in New Zealand is set to make history as the Tino Rangatiratanga flag takes centre stage at every match, following FIFA's approval of a request to feature indigenous flags throughout the tournament.

In a show of unity and cultural diversity, the Māori flag and the New Zealand national flag will be displayed at all 29 matches held in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the Australian Aboriginal flag, the Torres Strait Islander flag, and the Australian national flag will fly at all 35 matches played across the Tasman.

This decision to showcase all official flags was made following a recommendation by the tournament's all-woman First Nations and Māori cultural advisory panel.

The aim is to establish long-lasting relationships in collaboration with First Nations and Māori communities, ensuring genuine engagement and inclusion of all cultural aspects throughout the tournament.

New Zealand Football, Football Australia, and both countries' governments have thrown their support behind this request.

"FIFA has acknowledged the request made by its cultural advisory panel, Football Australia, and New Zealand Football, which was supported by the governments in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a statement.

"These significant flags embody a spirit of mutual respect, national identity, and recognition of Indigenous cultures for our hosts."

Expressing gratitude for FIFA's decision, NZ Football CEO Andrew Pragnell described it as a pivotal moment for the co-hosts of the tournament.

The Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Australian National flags are seen at half mast on the members' grandstand during the round five NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Cronulla Sharks at Sydney Cricket Ground, on April 10, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. Photo / Mark Kolbe / Getty Images / Archive

He emphasised the opportunity to shape the future editions of the Women's World Cup and its interaction with host nations while acknowledging the rights of indigenous people.

"Displaying the Tino Rangatiratanga flag alongside the official country flag is a powerful symbol, reflecting the partnership between the Crown and Māori that serves as the foundation of our nation," Pragnell said.

"I extend my thanks to FIFA for this decision, and I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of the New Zealand government and the tournament's cultural advisory panel in achieving this outcome."

Excitement is building up as the Women's World Cup commences, with a thrilling match expected between the Football Ferns and the formidable Norway, ranked 12th in the world, at Auckland's Eden Park on July 20.

Teams have already started arriving in New Zealand, with Norway and Vietnam touching down in Auckland on Thursday.