Change our official name to Aotearoa


Kia ora koutou

I hope you are all keen to sign this petition to change the name of our country to Aotearoa – we were never part of the Netherlands!

Please forward and to all and sundry and share on social media.

Nga mihi nui


Here’s the full petition:

Change our official name to Aotearoa

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Tōku reo, tōku ohooho. Tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea. Tōku reo, tōku whakakai marihi.

Te Pāti Māori are calling for the House of Representatives to;

  1. Change the country’s official name to Aotearoa and
  2. Officially restore the Te Reo Māori names for all towns, cities and place names.

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.

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. In only 40 years, the Crown managed to successfully strip us of our language and we are still feeling the impacts of this today. It’s totally unacceptable that 20% of the Māori population and 3% of people living in Aotearoa can speak te reo Māori.

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.

This petition calls on Parliament to change New Zealand to Aotearoa and begin a process, alongside whānau, hapū and iwi, local government and the New Zealand Geographic Board 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.

It is the duty of the Crown to do all that it can to restore the status of our language. That means it needs to be accessible in the most obvious of places; on our televisions, on our radio stations, on road signs, maps and official advertising, and in our education system.

Please support this petition, share far and wide and let us bring our Aotearoa hou into realisation.


  1. C’mon John, thought you’d research this a bit better.
    Zeeland may be part of the Netherlands but Zealand is part of Denmark.
    However, your next comment is spot on. We were never part of Denmark either.

    Whatever name this country has, it’s a pretty bloody good place eh?

  2. Great idea, and the Māori Party suggested goal of 2026 implementation for place names allows ample time for discussion and transition.

    Perhaps “Aotearoa NZ” could be used up till 2026 with an official switch over occurring then, along with declaring this country a Republic, leaving 5 Eyes, and a new flag on the same date?

    There will be many views on this, but make no mistake–the future of this country will be younger and browner no matter what the boomer generation and ACT supporters might think. Colonialists and redcoats almost wiped out Māori, but failed, assimilationists almost killed Te Reo but have failed also. Non Māori do not have to adopt Māori culture but there are many positive attributes in it for all residents of this land.

    Respecting the original names is the least we can do and build a new pride in an independent Aotearoa.

  3. I don’t think te Tiriti o Waitangi mentions Aotearoa.
    ‘Ko Wikitoria te Kuini o Ingarani i tana mahara atawai ki nga Rangatira me nga Hapu o Nu Tirani i tana hiahia hoki kia tohungia ki a ratou o ratou rangatiratanga me to ratou wenua, a kia mau tonu hoki te Rongo ki a ratou me te Atanoho hoki kua wakaaro ia he mea tika kia tukua mai tetahi Rangatira – hei kai wakarite ki nga Tangata maori o Nu Tirani – kia wakaaetia e nga Rangatira maori te Kawanatanga o te Kuini ki nga wahikatoa o te wenua nei me nga motu – na te mea hoki he tokomaha ke nga tangata o tona Iwi Kua noho ki tenei wenua, a e haere mai nei.’

    That aside, although it seems to me entirely reasonable to restore the original Maori names of mountains, rivers, lands, and all geographical features, yet towns and cities are another matter.
    A city is more than the land on which it stands. Wellington is a city around te Whanganui a Tara (or perhaps, as that is a harbour, a city built on Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui). But the city and the land are not the same thing. Auckland may be at Tamaki Makaurau, but that does not make it Tamaki Makaurau, Dunedin is not Otepoti simply because it is at Otepoti.
    A city is more than the land on which it stands. It is a living being, all the people who live within it. Those people may have birth, or marriage, or other documents identifying them as having been born or married or something else in their city, and that may be part of who they see themselves as being.
    Petition or no petition, it must be up to the people who constitute each town and city what they will call it. But certainly let them acknowledge and honour the name of the land on which their town or city stands, especially if that name is different from the city built upon it.

      • Ahhhh Michal, so you are against a referendum that the result will not be a name changed.
        Good luck to the Govt. Who changes it without a referendum, the opposition will just say ‘vote for us and we will have a binding refferendum on it’
        Even Arden isnt that silly to just change without letting the voters have a say.
        You call a referendum racist, i call it democracy.

        • Westminster democracy never favours those people whose country and people have been invaded, slaughtered and their lands stolen and who are the minority.

          I am against anything that further disenfranchises Maori.

          • ‘I am against anything that further disenfranchises Maori’.
            As most of NZrs undoubtably are Michal, but there is a limit to what they demand and what they get.
            Tell me how changing the name of NZ is ‘disenfranchies’ maori?
            And i guess if a govt, of any flavour, comes up with a big change, like this change, you would welcome a refurendum if you disagree with said change….?

  4. I used to be jealous of the name ‘New Hebrides’ because I thought Hebrides sounded better than Zealand.

    Now I prefer Vanuatu by miles.

    But are all Maori agreed that Aotearoa actually means NZ?

    And can some Pakeha stop saying ‘Ay-oh-tee-a-rower’? Can they stop saying ‘Pah-kee-hah’?

    If so, I am in favour.

      • Je parle français, und ich spreche Deutsch. I find it unwise to pronounce such names (especially ‘Les Misérables’) correctly in Aotearoa, because people look at me as if I am trying to be a smart-ass.

        The same as when people actually try to pronounce Maori correctly? Your point is?

    • I’ve always found saying Aotearoa correctly is tricky. My primary school teachers back in the day, who originally taught me the te reo curriculum of the day, taught me incorrectly and it stuck. I’ve only just learned to say Taupo correctly in the last few years. They were all white but tried their best. Not one Maori pupil or teacher at that school (it was way down in the deep South). My son corrects me now when I pronounce the reo incorrectly, which is great. He didn’t go to the same school as me (his was in BOP) and heard correct pronunciation all his life here and there. It makes a difference how and who first educates languages and it’s harder to correct that later in life. jmo

  5. Everyone should just keep on using Aotearoa or Aotearoa NZ. Once the boomers (like me) die out, Aotearoa will become popular. However I dont think Aotearoans are ready for it to happen in 2026. Ditto the place/town/street names. Some of the street named after the colonial officials who alienated/stole Maori land thru the Native land courts and land invasions/wars is still offensive to Maori. The disrespect shown by the Govt officials toward the mana of our great chiefs can never be forgiven. It is a good start that some local authorities are actively involving kaitiaki Maori in naming new streets, reserves, and other features.

  6. I am happy which ever way it goes obviously the Maori Party feel it is worth pursuing any one who objects obviously has an issue with te tangata whenua.

    • Your argument lacks consistency. The flag referendum was going to result in getting rid of the Union Flag (UK) and come up with one that was uniquely New Zealand. If you want to change the name of the country you are doing the same thing, coming up with something that is unique to this country.

      I supported the change in the flag.

  7. I may have missed it but this grand standing Maori Party pair have said little about getting their people to be vaccinated.The money it would cost to change thenames of towns and cities surely would be better spent on homes and education.
    NZ Aotearoa shows that there is a combination of two people in this country .

    • Yes I think we missed it because media dont tell us, too busy telling us what David has to say. But on the street in their home towns they know how much they have tried. Regarding the vax you can lead a horse to water but you cant make them drink. I know a lot of Maori that dont want it based on how Maori have been treated by successive govts. There is a lot of history to get over for some people. NZ Aotearoa or Aotearoa NZ either or sounds good to me.

    • Oh dear mustn’t let Maori decide what is right for them. Just because you haven’t heard them encouraging their people to get vaccinated doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.

      • ” Just because you haven’t heard them encouraging their people to get vaccinated doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”

        What I heard was Maori saying their vaccination rate was lower. And the government made a pragmatic response which is great.

        “The welfare of our whanau is at the heart of our response to COVID-19 and we will reprioritising $10 million from the Māori Development vote to support this community outreach,” Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta said.

        Peeni Henare says $30 million will be targeted directly to Māori Health services.

        “To protect our people, especially our kaumātua and kuia, we can’t solely rely on them engaging with the health system, but instead we must engage with our people, in their neighbourhoods, communities and homes.

        “That is why we are providing targeted funding to those that know how to serve our people best: Our Māori health providers, our Whānau Ora agencies and iwi.

        “We are also redirecting an extra $15 million to Whānau Ora commissioning agencies. They can reach into our communities and help our most vulnerable whānau” Peeni Henare said.

        The rest of the population who watched the TV news and other media for 18months and learnt how dangerous the covid19 virus is, then received a txt alert, booked a vaccination appointment and went and got vaccinated, wonder why the Maori vaccination rate is lower. The vaccine station I went to had Indian, Maori and Pakeha workers.

        What is the answer to, why don’t Maori just get vaccinated at the same rate? Is it Billy Te Kahika or something else? Surely it’s not colonialism.

    • Oh dear yet another racist, go to Waitangi one year and be moved. Learn some serious stuff about the history of Maori. Read Judith Binney, Anne Salmon, Michael King, learn the history!

      • I love the name Aotearoa, use it all the time. Many people do already. It makes me feel like we are an independent country and not some bloody Britsh dominion to be looked down upon by the snobs.

    • Yeah I tend to agree, though I’m one who struggles to say it correctly. How about Whaka Zealand? Most te Reo challenged people could manage that one, and it’s fun to say 🙂

  8. You never advance when a small percentage of the population dictates the terms. I respect Te Reo but that is not our only language. I support Aotearoa New Zealand as it is now. And i support our Maori heritage but as a Pakeha New Zealander what about what i identify with ? We can have both as we have been doing for some considerable time. I am proud of our Maori people it is our valued and first culture but i also have a future. Does that no longer matter.

    • I dont care what this nation wants to call itself as long as it is a clear wish of all the Kiwis, which as far as I am concerned means a referendum. Looking at all the comments listed so far, I get a strong feeling that the readers of (and cointributers to )this blog dont want one. Nor do I ever see any polls on the matter. I suspect that the reason for this is that you know a referendum will fail.

      • Of course it would fail that does not make it right.

        We could in this instance be on the right side of history, Maori have endured a name that hardly represents this land for how many years?

    • You make sense to me Mosa. The colonialist history we have is very confronting but its our history nevertheless. We can’t pretend we’re not here and this country has progressed regardless of what some might say. I can live with Aotearoa NZ. , But this pc bs with changing street names because someone in 2021 is offended about what happened 160 years ago is a bit precious for me. I can understand the need for Maori place and area names but Maori didn’t build the towns and cities as we know them so leave the street names alone.

      • Street names mean nothing to you but how many streets in Israel are named Hitler street, of course names mean something, its only been about 6 generations so not that long ago for some, my grand fathers grandfather etc …..

        • I can’t agree YN. Yes some military names might be offensive I agree, but Look at khandallah a suburb of Wellington. All the street names are Indian. And Asian. Named after other places in the commonwealth and elsewhere. Why don’t we just erase the lot. You may not like it but it’s ALL our history. BTW alongside the Maori battalion there are thousands of Pakeha that fought and died in two world wars doing their bit to protect this country what ever you wish to call it.

  9. With all the problems that exist in our country, just how important is it whether we name our country by its traditional European name or its indigenous name?
    Call it whichever you prefer but just respect each other’s views, that’s what we need to do.
    I’m happy to call it either, or both. They are both great names that carry a lot of meaning and history.
    But I resent pretentious people calling me racist when I choose to use the European name or banjo twangers rolling their eyes when I choose to use the Maori name.

  10. Can’t imagine how foreigners /overseas Media are going to mangle AOUT-EAR-OWAY. Not to mention possessive plurals.
    Unfortunately a good many place names in Maori look, sound and are similar to completely different places.
    Alot of Maori names refer to geographical areas rather than population areas. Would suburbs renamed ? So maybe you’ll end up with Maori tansliterations of English words transliterating English place names.
    So the practicality is at best expensive and hard work. We are pretty much a bilingual society yet in language its all ways best to strive for clarity. Another thought, in England place names are a blend of Celtic, Welsh, Latin, Angle, Saxon, Norse, Norman, French, Dutch, in a century or two we don’t know what our language will be, but it will be a richer tapesty for us to have names of different origins for different places.

  11. There is a huge amount of change going on at the moment and there are a lot of people scared of change and likely to vote out a government that threatens their security by pushing too much change. Climate change and the multitude of changes necessary to address that, and all the changes needed to address the many inequalities in our country have to be the priorities. Acceptance of the name Aotearoa is a process that has been going on for a while and is none threatening. A petition and demand for change (Aotearoa instead of NZ) is confrontational, threatening and unnecessary. We can’t afford to lose the only Government likely to advance the important stuff over an issue like a name change.

  12. Totally agree with petition. In fact let’s make it a binding referendum so all New Zealanders can decide the name of their country and towns.
    That’s the only democratic way to do it

  13. My wife said a very scary thing to me the other day.
    ” I have never considered myself a racist, but I can understand how one could easily become one”
    Labour needs to slow down with the speed of the changes and begin some clear open debatable dialogue starting with a referendum over our adopted de-facto name. .

    • What changes do Labour (our pathetic government) need to slow down on. Are there lots of things going down for Maori I haven’t seen them, oh yes a separate structure for health, what else do tell. How long do Maori have to wait, there will never be a right time.

    • You know Gaby of ‘Israel’ persuasion during the 1981 tour we used to say of the white white white Springboks ‘paint them black and send them back’ it seems that them and people like them will only ever understand the situation if they become them and have to live all the appalling things that they have to put up with, a bit like Palestinians really.

      • Trust you to make it all about Israel. Clearly you’ve never been there. It’s difficult to find a white face. Israelis are dark-skinned people and Ethiopian Jews, for example, are black. The majority of Israelis are descended from Mizrahi, Middle Eastern, Jews. Eighty percent of Israelis are sabras i.e. born there. Even Ashkenazi Jews are 70% descended from Middle Eastern genes of 3,000 years ago. So much for your ‘white colonialists’. Incidentally, many South Africans are also very dark because they have African blood in their families, even if they don’t talk about it. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, or have you conveniently forgotten New Zealand’s colonial past?

  14. Until every child of pre school, primary school and secondary school age (and adult education classes) has the opportunity (not compulsory, just the capacity to deliver this to all who want it) to learn the indigenous people’s language, this is just lipstick on a pig.

    With the Maori Party and ACT trying to separate out for themselves their enclaves – the indigenous come first and the indigenous have no rights (David Seymour is taking over the Winston Peters role as the most assimilated Maori in the country – one neo-liberal and the older a Muldoonist era egalitarian), the rest of us have major issues to face up to

    1. rebuild public health capacity – Maori Health Authority as part of that.
    2. plan to have 100,000 state houses (we had 60,000 when 3M people) by 2030 – 80,000 in urban area/provincial areas and c20,000 houses built on Maori land for Maori without home ownership, so they can retire.

  15. This is Aotearoa and I will keep using that instead of the dutch/danish/english mongrel name. The name New Zealand has history behind it so should also be recorded and respected.

    A quick lesson on the origins of Aotearoa. About 1200 years ago Kupe the navigator nonpareil departed Taputapuatea on Rai’atea, Havai’i (Hawaiki) and journeyed south “on the back of the migrating birds and whales” along the Tongan and Kermadec trenches until he was caught in the East Auckland current. It was Kupe’s wife who first saw a cloud over the land and exclaimed “Aotea”. This of course is Great Barrier Is where they landed near Okupu. The main land was later viewed under cloud so it was named “Aotearoa” (long white cloud). Kupe made his first landing in Aotearoa at the only safe mooring in “Te Whiianga a Kupe”, Whitianga, Hauraki at a place he called Taputapuatea after his homeland. All these tupuna and traditional names have been portrayed in customary place names around Aotearoa.

    • Just one addition – some Pakeha still believe that Kupe drifted slowly to Aotearoa. Untrue – he sailed, and a lot quicker than Cook’s Endeavour could sail.
      I have had the privilege of a ride on Aotearoa 1, one of the modern versions of the old Polynesian twin-hulled sailing canoes. I also visited the replica of Endeavour (half-sized, I think?) when it visited. It may have had the advantage of being able to carry cannons, etc, but as a sailboat it was a pig.
      I would far rather cross the Pacific on Aotearoa1 than on the Endeavour.
      A Cadillac of the ocean: fewer stores, but you would get there so much quicker.

  16. Aotearoa New Zealand is a good compromise. Aotearoa will 7th place us at the top of the alphabetical list of countries after Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and ahead of our rival Australia!


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