Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time for a new national anthem

Hot on the heels of the Herald's campaign to change the flag, we also have a campaign to change the national anthem. Quite apart from sounding awful, "God defend New Zealand" does not reflect the realities of modern Aotearoa, where a growing number of us (over 40% at the last census) are godless. While it was adopted after a petition to Parliament in 1977, nowdays it would almost certainly be rejected on the grounds of religious favouritism.

This sort of religious exclusion fails to reflect kiwi values of tolerance and equality. It has to go (as does its co-anthem, the equally exclusive, as well as bigoted and undemocratic "God save the Queen"). The question is what we change it to. But by proposing change, Anthem for Everyone will hopefully open a space for new anthems to be proposed which better reflect modern New Zealand as a 21st century Pacific nation.

But a new flag and a new anthem aren't enough. We also need to change the name. Currently we're named after an English mis-spelling of a Dutch province. Instead, we should move into the 21st century and acknowledge our Maori heritage, and adopt "Aotearoa-New Zealand" instead.

You can follow the Anthem for Everyone campaign on Facebook here.