Friday, December 12, 2008

For Aotearoa

What's in a name? In the case of a country, an entire sense of national identity. At the moment, New Zealand is named after a Dutch - or, thanks to a bad translation somewhere along the way, Danish - province. Now, a campaign has started to give us a name that actually means something to us: Aotearoa (or "Aotearoa-New Zealand" for an interim period). The reasons they give are mostly jokey - its difficult to take the renaming of a country seriously - but there is one good one: it says something about who we really are. Not a fragment of Europe broken off and dumped somewhere in the south seas, but a Pacific nation, with our own indigenous culture and heritage. And that statement of national identity is why I think this proposal is worth taking a serious look at.