The Mount Maunganui woman who designed the Tino Rangatiratanga flag says the decision to copyright it is not about money.

Linda Munn also disputed accusations that embattled Maori Party MP Hone Harawira and his family were "cashing in" on their role in the copyrighting process of the flag.

"I'm stepping up and taking ownership. I was worried it would be taken away. But people are only talking about the money aspect, they are forgetting what it symbolises," she told Tauranga website sunlive.co.nz.

"It's not about money. It's about protecting it. It belongs to us.

"It's to protect it and keep it in New Zealand. We have found a lot of our designs from here have been taken away overseas," she said.

Most of the revenue generated after the flag was copyrighted, which Ms Munn expected would be complete within a year, would go into a trust.

About eight trustees would be appointed to the trust and Ms Munn said she would personally ensure the trust's accounts were transparent so the public knew where the money was being spent.

Ms Munn designed the Tino Rangatiratanga flag with Jan Dobson and Hiraina Marsden about 30 years ago and is the only surviving member of the trio.

She said she and her family, along with the families of the other two designers, would receive some portion of the flag's profits but was adamant the Harawira family would not receive any money.

Hone Harawira and his wife Hilda were advising her on the copyrighting process, she said.

"I find making money tacky. I find the whole money making thing quite dirty and they would never ask for anything."

She said the trust would help establish community initiatives such as education scholarships, a marae-based art school for all New Zealanders and a programme teaching Maori and New Zealand culture.

"This is the dream we've always had. I will make sure this vision for the community is seen through," Ms Munn said.

Mr Harawira said yesterday the trust was intended to benefit the families of the flag's designers and he had withdrawn from the process because of the apparent conflict of interest.

He said he had told the families of the designers to hire a lawyer to set up the trust.

Mr Harawira made his comments after TV One News reported last night that Hilda Harawira planned to copyright the flag with Ms Munn and make money from royalties.

- NZPA