New Zealand changed its name

The two names already exist;  Interchangeable for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
The two names are already interchangeable for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

“We are a Polynesian country, we are Aotearoa.” Rawiri Waititi, the leader of the Maori party, wants to change New Zealand’s name: back to the origins, to Te Reo, to “Land of the Long White Cloud,” according to the literal translation of the new name.

The request isn’t new, but this time Te Paaty Maori appears to be serious: He launched a petition on his website and increased institutional pressure, demanding that New Zealand’s toponyms take the Maori language path by 2026.

A motion in which he asked for the commitment of Parliament: “We are in the twenty-first century, all this must change,” said the politician who made the initiative to get rid of the memory of the colonial era, when the cartographers of Holland named this region of Oceania as the Dutch province from which the first colonists came , Zeeland. “We are tired of our ancestors’ names being neglected and ignored.”

Māori are the largest ethnic minority in New Zealand, making up 16.5% of the population and Te Rio Māori became the official language in 1987, along with English. But Waititi’s party now wants greater recognition, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is also open to the possibility. He had recently admitted that in everyday life the names New Zealand and Aotearoa are now interchangeable: at different institutional levels the term Aboriginal is used and even some companies use it. And for the New Zealand Prime Minister “that is a good thing. Whether we change it by law or not, the fact that New Zealanders are increasingly referring to Aotearoa does not change.” But despite frequent use in the country, there has been a lack of formalization, as Maori now claim .

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Waititi said, “Aotearoa is a name that will unite our country rather than divide it. Others try to use it as a tool to divide, but this is an all-encompassing tool, as our ancestors agreed to live together in this.” the earth “.

Launching the petition, the other Maori party leader, Debbie Ngariwa Packer, noted that “it is the duty of the Crown to do everything in its power to restore our language’s prestige. This means that it must be available in the most visible places; on our televisions, on radio stations and on Road signs, on maps, on institutional ads, and in our education system.”

The proposal to change the name is not without controversy. Both are of a political and historical nature. Conservative National Party leader Judith Collins has called for a referendum on the use of Aotearoa, while Congressman Stuart Smith has launched the idea of ​​banning its use by public officials, and again, from the right, criticism comes from Liberal Labor Party David Seymour: “People are free Already in the use of Moor place names. What the Maori party is saying is that they would like to prevent people from contacting our country, New Zealand. Then there are those who criticize the proposal because it is believed that the original name originally referred to only the North Island and not, instead, to the entire country.

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