New Zealand and Aotearoa

A petition has been launched in New Zealand to add the Maori term for the country in its official name.

Wellington man Danny Tahau Jobe put forward to the petition to New Zealand Parliament, urging it to “pass legislation requiring a referendum … on whether the official name of New Zealand should change to include the name Aotearoa”.

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“Official documents of national identity, birth and citizenship certificates, passports and money-notes have Aotearoa and New Zealand together as the names of the country. Only ‘New Zealand’ has official status,” the petition says.

“Both names together will officially confirm/enhance nationhood and uniqueness in the world.”

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So far, the petition has gained more than 1,000 signatures.

The literal translation of Aotearoa is “land of the long white cloud” and many government and private entities in New Zealand already include the term when discussing the country.

Mr Tahau Jobe told New Zealand radio station Magic Talk on Tuesday “from my perspective, you have to start somewhere. If you don’t start you’re just looking backwards and staying where you are”.

“This is something that we can all share in and be proud of. It’s our identity; it makes us so unique in the world,” he said.

“New Zealand – it’s a name from a Dutch country from way back when Aotearoa’s the name itself.”

“I truly believe as a country we need to go forward and share and really look at our identity and who we are.”

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