New Zealand’s Maori party on Tuesday launched a petition on its website to officially change the country’s name 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. Said in the statement launching the petition.
“Tangata whenua are sick to death of our ancestral names being mangled, bastardised, and ignored. It’s the 21st Century, this must change.”
“Name changes over our whenua and the imposition of a colonial agenda in the education system in the early 1900s meant that Te Reo Māori fluency among our tupuna went from 90% in 1910 to 26% in 1950.” The petition reads.
The petition also calls on the government to “identify and officially restore the original Te Reo Māori names for all towns, cities and places right across the country” over the next five years, completing the process by 2026.
The Maoris are the largest ethnic minority, representing 16.5 percent of the population.
Te Reo Maori became an official language of New Zealand in 1987, alongside English.
On the front cover of the New Zealand passport, the Aotearoa word is printed below the official name of the country.
The petition so far has been signed by over 40,000 people.