Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga Organisation / Collective / Group


Decades Active2010s, 2020s


Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga (ASTR) is a grassroots political group of Asian tauiwi who support tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake for tangata whenua in Aotearoa. The group has chapters in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Pōneke Wellington and Ōtepoti Dunedin. ASTR is not an arts organisation, but a number of artists have been active in ASTR and, early in its formation, many members met through local and grassroots art networks.

ASTR was formalised in 2016 but was preceded by informal activity. In 2010, a banner painted with the phrase “Asians supporting Tino Rangatiratanga” was taken to Waitangi on Waitangi Day, inspired by the writings of Jenny Lee-Morgan in her book Jade Taniwha and the zine, Mellow Yellow, put together by Wai Ho. Following this, members of Young Asian Feminists Aotearoa looked after the banner, and that group was a supportive network that included many Asian artists.

The formation of the group in 2016 took place at Waitangi, where “a group of six Asians (with connections to Singapura, Malaysia, Taiwan, mainland China, and Vietnam) met [...] with the banner on Waitangi Day. Many of us met through feminist and/or queer activism, or at Waitangi the year before for a hui organised by Network Waitangi targeted at young activists interested in applying Te Tiriti to their activism. Afterwards, Marama Davidson shared a photo of the group that circulated widely on Facebook. This encouragement led to the formation of ASTR as a group and organisation based in Tāmaki Makaurau.”

After the group was formalised in 2016, it began to organise around three strands of activity: enacting solidarity for Māori by “showing up for Māori-led movements, campaigns, and initiatives”; education among Asian communities through workshops about Te Tiriti and the translation of materials and resources into Asian languages; and relationship-building and support for each other as Asian activists.

Since the release of the Matike Mai report by the late Māori lawyer and activist Moana Jackson that same year, ASTR has supported its vision for constitutional change in Aotearoa. Jackson was a strong supporter of ASTR and deeply influential on the group’s ongoing work. In 2018, ASTR partnered with the Asian Law Students Association at Victoria University Wellington to host a talk by Jackson, timed to coincide with the opening weekend of the Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui. Over 200 attendees listened to Jackson speak about the invitation and responsibilities of Te Tiriti for Asian communities in Aotearoa, as well as about examples of Māori-Asian solidarity in Aotearoa history. The talk led to the formation of ASTR Pōneke.

The Ōtepoti chapter of ASTR was formed in 2022 with the help of Sina Brown-Davis.


Last updated: 5 March 2024 Suggest an Edit


A group of people painting a black banner with white text

Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga, banner painting, date unknown

A group of six people holding a black banner with yellow text saying 'Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga'

Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga at Waitangi, 2016

A group of people holding an 'Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga' banner

Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga at Waitangi, date unknown

A group of 11 people standing in a posed group together, smiling

Members of Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga with Moana Jackson, 2018

13 people grouped around a banner saying 'Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga' with the Tino Rangatiratanga flag painted on

Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga, banner making, 2020

A group of people holding a banner that says 'Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga'

Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga, Waitangi, 2020