Flags for Mata­mata iden­tity

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Most news sto­ries told by the Chron­i­cle start out the same way – a phone call and a few names on a piece of pa­per.

But this story is a dif­fer­ent.

Last year a small ar­ti­cle ap­peared in this pa­per about the in­tro­duc­tion of flags along the main street of Mata­mata.

This caught the eye of former Jaycee mem­ber Bryce Hen­der­son.

The story re­minded him of a project the Mata­mata Jaycees had taken on more than three decades ear­lier in 1980.

Hop­ing to pro­mote the Mata­mata town­ship, the club had run a com­pe­ti­tion ask­ing lo­cals to sub­mit de­signs for a Mata­mata flag.

Jaycee Robin Jones or­gan­ised the con­test and in­vited peo­ple to vote for the flag they thought best rep­re­sented Mata­mata.

A young lady named Leonie Tisch, whose hus­band Lindsay was in­volved with the Jaycees, de­cided to give it a shot.

Much to her sur­prise, her de­sign was cho­sen.

An Auck­land busi­ness called Flags etc was com­mis­sioned to make four sun­shine yel­low flags.


One was given to the bor­ough coun­cil, one to the county coun­cil, one to Firth Tower Mu­seum and one to Mata­mata’s sis­ter town Tustin, Cal­i­for­nia in the United States.

For a time, the flags were flown out­side the coun­cil build­ings and over Firth Tower but as the years went by they were seen less and less of­ten.

When Mr Hen­der­son con­tacted the Chron­i­cle he was in­ter­ested to find out where the flags were now and why they were not be­ing used.

With only a small amount of in­for­ma­tion to go on, we en­listed the help of the Mata­mata His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Mem­ber Barry McKey, who was in­volved with the Mata­mata Jaycees from 1957 to 1970, made short work of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

With the help of an­other former Jaycee mem­ber Ralph Gore, he man­aged to track down the orig­i­nal Mata­mata Chron­i­cle ar­ti­cle, pic­tured, from 1980.

From there, he con­tacted Firth Tower Mu­seum man­ager Jackie Mulqueen and she con­firmed the mu­seum still had one of the flags, although it was very much the worse for wear.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil was also found to have the re­main­ing two flags in New Zealand.

Now the flags had been lo­cated, the ques­tion was what should hap­pen to them?

Mr Hen­der­son felt it was im­por­tant for Mata­mata to have its own iden­tity and said the flag should be flown on Broad­way along­side the New Zealand flag.

Mrs Tisch agreed but thought maybe it was time for an­other com­pe­ti­tion and a new de­sign.

So, once again the res­i­dents of Mata­mata should make the de­ci­sion.

An ar­ti­cle on the flag com­pe­ti­tion that ap­peared in the

in Worse for wear: Firth Tower man­ager Jackie Mulqueen tried her best to re­pair the flag that was given to the tower.

Blast from the past: Mata­mata Chron­i­cle 1980.

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