The Māori Party has launched a petition to have New Zealand’s name officially changed to Aotearoa.
Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer are also petitioning for Te Reo Māori names of all towns, cities and place names to be restored by 2026.
Their petition was launched Tuesday, the second day of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori/Māori Language Week.
“Our petition calls on Parliament to change New Zealand to Aotearoa and begin a process, alongside whānau, hapū and iwi, to identify and officially restore the original Te Reo Māori names for all towns, cities and places right across the country by 2026,” said Waititi.
“Tangata whenua are sick to death of our ancestral names being mangled, bastardised, and ignored. It’s the 21st Century, this must change.”
Ngarewa-Packer said place name changes of the 1900s and the “imposition of a colonial agenda” in the education system were to blame for the drop in Te Reo Māori fluency.
“In only 40 years, the colonisers managed to successfully strip us of our language and we are still feeling the impacts of this today.”