Within 20 years of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi large areas of tribal land had passed from Māori to Pākehā ownership. Some central North Island tribes wished to retain their lands, and combined under a single leader with the title of the Māori king. Waikato chief Te Wherowhero was declared the first Māori king in 1858. These three flags were flown at Kīngitanga (King movement) gatherings.
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