Changing New Zealand’s nameDate: 18 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
The Maori Party of New Zealand has launched a petition to change name of New Zealand to “Aotearoa”.
The “Aotearoa” signifies “land of the long white cloud” in the indigenous Te Reo Maori language.
The party has also asked New Zealand government to restore the Maori names for all towns, cities and place names.
The party has also asked for Te Reo Maori to be restored to its rightful place as the first and official language of this country.
The party alleges that people having fluency in the language fell to 26 per cent in 1950 from about 90% in 1910. Only 3 per cent of the people living in the country currently speak the language.
History of name
The Maori tales talk about Kupe, an East Polynesian explorer who discovered the island when he was trying to find new land.
Another tale says that New Zealand was discovered by his daughter and the name Aotearoa was named after the canoe Kupe was riding on.
The island was discovered by Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer with the Dutch East India Company (VOC), in 1640s. He called it “Nieuw Zeeland”, named after the Dutch province of Zeeland.
The detailed and accurate maps of the country were marked for the first time when English explorer Captain James Cook set foot.
The name Aotearoa is used interchangeably with New Zealand in some cases. Some argue that the name represents only the North Island and it came into existence only recently.
The Maori party has criticized the opposing sections for disrespecting oral traditions of the older Maoris. They say the name finds mention in their culture.