Māori Party launches petition to change official name of New Zealand to Aotearoa

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The Maori Party has launched a petition to change the official name of New Zealand to Aotearoa.

“It’s well past time that te reo Māori was restored to its rightful place as the first and official language of this country. We are a Polynesian country, we are Aotearoa,” Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi said at a press conference.

“Our petition calls on Parliament to change New Zealand to Aotearoa and begin a process, alongside whānau, hapū and iwi, to identify and officially restore the original te reo Māori names for all towns, cities and places right across the country by 2026.

“Tangata whenua are sick to death of our ancestral names being mangled, bastardised, and ignored. It’s the 21st Century, this must change.

“Article 3 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi promises tangata whenua the same rights as British citizens, that te reo Māori me ōna tikanga katoa be treated and valued exactly the same as the English language – ko te mana ōrite tērā,” Waititi said.

Asked about the petition this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would not commit to supporting such a move, but said place names could continue to be used interchangably as te reo Māori is an official language.

“We’ve got no plans to go through an official process to change the name of New Zealand, but I would say at the same time that actually I’m encouraged by the fact that people are using place names interchangably and I think that will only continue to grow.

“Te reo Māori’s an official language and so therefore we use those names interchangably and I think we should continue to do so.”

Source: RNZ News

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