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Te Pāti Māori Launch Petition To Change Official Name To Aotearoa, Restore All Māori Place Names By 2026

14/09/21

Marking Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Te Pāti Māori Co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer have today launched a petition to change the country’s official name to Aotearoa, and officially restore the te reo Māori names for all towns, cities and place names.

“It’s well past time that te reo Māori was restored to its rightful place as the first and official language of this country. We are a Polynesian country, we are Aotearoa,” said Mr Waititi.

“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.

“Tangata whenua are sick to death of our ancestral names being mangled, bastardised, and ignored. It’s the 21st Century, this must change.

“Article 3 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi promises tangata whenua the same rights as British citizens, that te reo Māori me ōna tikanga katoa be treated and valued exactly the same as the English language – ko te mana ōrite tērā,” said Mr Waititi.

“Name changes over our whenua and the imposition of a colonial agenda in the education system in the early 1900s meant that te reo Māori fluency among our tupuna went from 90% in 1910 to 26% in 1950. In only 40 years, the colonisers managed to successfully strip us of our language and we are still feeling the impacts of this today,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“A year ago today Te Pāti Māori launched our te reo Māori policy which addresses the dire fact that current estimates show that only 20% of the Māori population and 3% of people living in Aotearoa can speak te reo Māori.

“It is the duty of the Crown to do all that it can to restore the status of our language to where it was when the moment they arrived and interrupted our natural development. That means it needs to be accessible in the most obvious of places; on our televisions, on our radio stations, on road signs and maps and in our education system,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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