By Jack Guy, NCS

New Zealand’s Māori Party has launched a petition to change the official name of the nation to Aotearoa, its name within the te reo Māori language.

The marketing campaign additionally calls on the House of Representatives to restore the Māori names for all cities, cities and place names, in accordance to a press release saying the petition on Tuesday.

“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,” reads the assertion, which requires the renaming course of to be accomplished 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,” it reads. Tangata whenua means “people of the land,” however is used to refer to the Māori individuals usually.

Fluency within the Māori language fell from 90% in 1910 to 26% in 1950, in accordance to the assertion.

“In only 40 years, the Crown managed to successfully strip us of our language and we are still feeling the impacts of this today,” stated the celebration.

Today solely 3% of the individuals residing within the nation can communicate the language, it added.

“It is the duty of the Crown to do all that it can to restore the status of our language,” continues the assertion.

“That means it needs to be accessible in the most obvious of places; on our televisions, on our radio stations, on road signs, maps and official advertising, and in our education system.”

On Tuesday, the celebration tweeted that the petition had obtained 12,000 signatures. “This is MASSIVE,” reads the tweet.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not commented publicly on the petition, however it has already sparked opposition from David Seymour, chief of the right-wing ACT celebration.

“People are already free to use Māori place names,” tweeted Seymour. “What the Māori Party is saying is it would like to ban people calling our country New Zealand.”

In September 2020, Ardern stated it was a “positive thing” that Aotearoa is more and more used interchangeably with New Zealand.

But she stated an official name change was “not something that we’ve explored.”

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