Unexpected discussion. On 14 September, the Maori Party launched a petition in New Zealand to change the name of the country.
“We are a Polynesian state. We are Aotearoa,” he declared in a communication Political leaders. They also demand that the traditional indigenous language be considered the first official language, which would notably result in the translation of the names of all towns and localities.
The Maori party denounces the colonial policy that began at the beginning of the 20th century, which led to the virtual disappearance of the traditional language. Today, according to the petition, only 20% of Aboriginal people can practice it, and only 3% of New Zealanders.
“It is the duty of the Crown (New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth, note) to do everything in its power to restore our language’s prestige. This means we must make it available in the most important places, on our televisions, on our radio stations, on our billboards, maps, advertisements and education system” , we can read on the website of the Maori Party.
Already changing everyone’s mind?
Note that the change will not be entirely surprising in the country. Besides the fact that the petition calls for the formalization of the year 2026, companies and politicians use Aotearoa regularly. This has been the case with Vodafone in particular since September 2020.
When asked about the topic several months ago, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that she had not yet “explored” the idea. Without going so far as to fully support the name change, as stated before guardianShe said at the time: “Whether we change it by law or not, I don’t think it will change the fact that more and more New Zealanders are using Aotearoa, and I think the move has been accepted.” It remains to be seen whether the petition will be successful enough to spark real political debate.
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