New Zealand: Maori get together launches petition for nation’s name-change


New Zealand’s Maori get together on Tuesday launched a petition on its web site to formally change the nation’s identify to Aotearoa – a longstanding demand of the indigenous group.

Aotearoa interprets to “land of the lengthy white cloud” within the Te Reo Maori language and is commonly used as a reputation for the Pacific island nation.

“It’s properly previous time that Te Reo Maori was restored to its rightful place as the primary and official language of this nation. We’re a Polynesian nation, we’re Aotearoa,” stated Rawiri Waititi, co-leader of Te Pati Maori.

The indigenous get together additionally known as for the nationwide parliament to “determine and formally restore the unique Te Reo Maori names for all cities, cities, and locations proper throughout the nation by 2026.”

“Tangata Whenua [indigenous people] are sick to dying of our ancestral names being mangled, bastardized, and ignored. It’s the twenty first Century, this should change,” Waititi stated in an announcement.


The Maoris are the most important ethnic minority, representing 16.5 p.c of the inhabitants.

Te Reo Maori turned an official language of New Zealand in 1987, alongside English.

‘No historic credibility’

The identify Aotearoa, nonetheless, has a contested historical past, not least as it’s believed to have initially been used to refer solely to the North Island, relatively than the nation as a complete.

New Zealand’s former deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters criticized the petition as “left-wing radical bulldust.”

“Altering our nation’s identify and city and metropolis names is simply dumb extremism,” stated Peters, the chief of the nationalist New Zealand First get together.

“We aren’t altering to some identify with no historic credibility. We’re for maintaining us New Zealand,” he tweeted.

Final yr, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stopped in need of backing an identical proposal.

“I hear an increasing number of typically using Aotearoa interchangeable with New Zealand and that may be a constructive factor,” she has stated in response to a query on the difficulty, in response to the New Zealand Herald.

Over time, authorities officers and even some corporations have used Aotearoa interchangeably with or alongside New Zealand, together with on citizen’s passports.

The identify New Zealand comes from the colonial period when cartographers from the Netherlands named it after the westernmost province Zeeland.

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