Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Time for Aotearoa-New Zealand

NewsHub reports that there is a petition before Parliament for a referendum on adding Aotearoa to our country's official name:

A Kiwi man has launched a petition to add Aotearoa to our country's official name.

If accepted, it would require Parliament to pass legislation requiring a referendum on whether the official name of New Zealand should change to include the Māori name.

"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," Danny Tahau Jobe's petition states.

"Only 'New Zealand' has official status. Both names together will officially confirm/enhance nationhood and uniqueness in the world."

I've supported the idea of a national name change for a long time: our national identity has changed since the days of Muldoon (let alone the days of Holyoake), and referring to NZ as Aotearoa is second nature to many New Zealanders. Formally changing our name would be a positive expression of our new national identity and a recognition of this place's unique Maori heritage. As for the process, a national name change requires legislation (as noted in the select committee report the last time this came before the House), and a referendum is the appropriate way to decide such issues. I urge people to sign the petition.