New Zealand was not always called New Zealand. The first settlers on the Pacific island called Aotearoa in the 14th century. Translated, it means “Land of the Long White Cloud”. Now the natives want to recreate this name.
The Maori party has petitioned to officially rename the Pacific island of Aotearoa. In addition, all towns and places will be given indigenous Maori names again by 2026. The party’s two chairs, Roiry Waititi and Debbie Ngariwa Packer, wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is long overdue for the Māori (Ti Río Māori) language to regain its rightful place as the first and official language of this country. We are a Polynesian state, we are Aotearoa,” Waititi said.
The name change aims to strengthen the Maori language
Since 1987, Maori has been the second official language besides English. “The name change will help restore the status of our language,” Ngariwa Packer said.
According to Ngarwa Packer, the name “New Zealand” and “imposing a colonial agenda in the education system” resulted in fewer and fewer Maori speaking their own language fluently. Many companies and government agencies already use the Pacific State name Aotearoa.
New Zealand will not be the first country to change its name. The former Burma located in Southeast Asia was renamed Myanmar in 1989. Swaziland in southern Africa has been called Eswatini since 2018. With the name change, the countries wanted to leave the memories of colonial days behind.
Not everyone is excited about the idea of a Maori party
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has criticized plans to change the name. “This is just a headline quest, no matter what the cost to this country,” the politician wrote on Twitter.
Peters added that the renaming would confuse trading partners at a time when exports are critical to our economic survival.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, on the other hand, believes it is “positive” that the name Aotearoa is being used more and more. “In my opinion, whether or not we change the law does not change the fact that New Zealand is increasingly being called Aotearoa. (Decoy)
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