– New Zealand is slated to be called Aotearoa in the future
The name is already in the passports of citizens. Now politicians from New Zealand officially want the “Land of the Long White Cloud”. But the term has a controversial history.
The Maori Party has petitioned in New Zealand to officially rename the Pacific state “Aotearoa”. The Aboriginal word, which translates as “Land of the Long White Cloud,” is already used as a synonym for New Zealand. However, the term has a controversial history and is said to have originally been used only for the North Island and not for the entire country.
The Maori party also wants to reintroduce Maori names for all city and place names by 2026, its chairs Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. Te Reo Maori (Maori language) has been long overdue to regain its rightful place as the country’s first and official language. “We are a Polynesian state, we are Aotearoa,” Waititi said.
Ngariwa Packer explained that the name change and “imposing a colonial agenda in the education system” resulted in fewer and fewer Maori speaking their own language fluently. The rate fell from 90 percent in 2010 to 20 percent. Ngariwa Packer said changing the country’s name would help “restore the status of our language”.
Many businesses and government agencies in the island nation use the name Aotearoa which is also on citizens’ passports. Te Rio Maori became an official language of New Zealand in July 1987.