More on Aotearoa New Zealand name recognition petition

Yesterdays post on the petition calling for renaming the country Aotearoa New Zealand – Should New Zealand also be called Aotearoa? – was done in a hurry and put up as something I though worth discussing. here is more information about it.

It was published on 23 May 2018 so has been going for some time. It has just received publicity via Facebook and NZ Herald. It is an official petition on the Parliamentary website:

Petition of Danny Tahau Jobe – Referendum to include Aotearoa in the official name of New Zealand

Published date: 23 May 2018

Petition request

That the House of Representatives pass legislation requiring a referendum, to be held during the term of the current Government, on whether the official name of New Zealand should change to include the name Aotearoa.

Petition reason

Official documents of national identity, birth & citizenship certificates, passports and money-notes have Aotearoa and New Zealand together as the names of the country. Only ‘New Zealand’ has official status. Both names together will officially confirm/enhance nationhood and uniqueness in the world.

Closing date: 28 Feb 2019 NZ Time

Number of signatures: 2345

As far as petitions go that’s not a lot of signatures.

A Facebook page Petition for Aotearoa New Zealand was started last June. It has been liked by 520 people and has 529 followers.

It includes this information showing how widely Aotearoaa is already shown alongside New Zealand.

Image may contain: bird and text


No photo description available.

No photo description available.

On country names and renaming:

Aotearoa New Zealand isn’t a long name!
Check these Country short and official names out, some will suprise you,
but first, heres three;

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The Unitied States of America
The Federative Republic of Brazil
The Democratic Republic of Congo

Aotearoa New Zealand – not long at all.

Also, Country name changes, they happen more than you might think:

A petition run on Facebook. As of 29 January:

  • 52.4% want some form of change, Aotearoa to used in one form or another as a name of our Country
  • 47.4% want no change
    – 2,792 respondents.

Some  thoughts on the petition from Scott Hamilton:

I support the spirit of this petition, but I wonder its creators have thought through what they’re advocating. They want the name change to be a decolonising gesture, but it could lead to some strange & uncomfortable formulations & titles. Let me give two examples.

In addition to her various other titles, QE2 is officially known as the Queen of New Zealand. That sounds bad enough to my republican ears, but under the proposed name change, she’d ipso facto become Queen of Aotearoa New Zealand. Given the use of Aotearoa by anti-imperialists like Tawhiao, ruler of the Waikato Kingdom, in the 19th century (Tawhiao named his bank, for example, Te Peeke o Aotearoa, & used the name on his currency), allowing QE2 the title Queen of Aotearoa seems like a rather unfortunate move.

There’s also the fact that New Zealand is not just the name of a nation state, but of a rump Pacific empire. The Realm of New Zealand is defined as the entire area where the Queen of NZ is head of state – that includes Tokelau, Niue, the Cooks, & NZ-administered Antarctica.

Would it be any better, from the perspective of decolonisation, if the Realm of New Zealand, with its parcel of old colonies, became the Realm of Aotearoa New Zealand? The name wouldn’t seem any more representative, for Tokelauans, Cook Islanders, Niueans.

It’d be good to amend or abolish the name New Zealand, with its colonial history, but it seems hard to understand how such a change could make much sense except as part of a constitutional package that involved the ditching of the monarchy & a new r’ship with the Pacific.

As Scott suggests, I think that a name change won’t happen on it’s own. It is likely to be included in monarchy/republic and constitution discussions and possible changes.

I think that eventually New Zealand will be officially renamed as Aotearoa. I’d be happy for that to happen, but I don’t know if I will see it happen in my lifetime.

In the meantime Aotearoa and Aotearoa New Zealand are being increasingly used as alternatives, and I think this de facto change of name will continue to grow strength.


Leave a comment


  1. Gezza

     /  31st January 2019

    Kiwiland – all the way ! Tell your friends !

  2. Finbaar Rustle

     /  31st January 2019

    Calling this country New Zealand is ridiculous.
    Zeeland a Dutch province really?
    Tasman “discovering” NZ was taught in schools until the 1970’s
    Farcical. Embarrassing. Idiocy.
    A Dutch province has what to do with these islands in the south Pacific?
    Tasman arrives in 1642 and “claims” the land for the Netherlands
    but Maori tell him to get stuffed and drive him off..
    Tasman who is on a world land grab only hangs round 3 weeks then buggers off.
    We don’t see any one from the Netherlands for 300 years
    and that’s just a few refugees post WW2.
    So how does this country still get called Nieuwe Zeeland ?
    Lunacy. Idiocy.
    So 127 years later this country is “discovered” again by James Cooke
    and soon the British invasion starts and has never stopped.
    This country should have a Polynesian name
    but not Aotearoa which is a stupid name.
    “Tatou” is much better.

    • Gezza

       /  31st January 2019

      Quite like that. Tatou means “us” in English.

    • Zedd

       /  31st January 2019

      yes I think ‘Aotearoa’ was an invented word. when Capt cook etc. arrived, there was no name for the country, except ‘whenua’ (land) there were just tribal groups & sealers/whalers/pirates

      they added Ao; world/land to tea-roa; long cloud & created a national name,
      but there is another phrase: tino-rangatira-tanga

      but its as good as; neu-zeeland.. I think Gezza’s name is better 😀

  3. Zedd

     /  31st January 2019

    sez blerta

  4. Mother

     /  31st January 2019

    I agree that a name change goes naturally with other discussions and decisions, including what we as individuals decide about Christianity – whether we ditch it (usually because of suffering through hypocrisy) or embrace it (as individuals, and in ways which rise above the past difficulties). Our future social life and political environment will be affected by this one thing. It might be a wonderful release to get free from the church of England.

    Does anyone know anything about a Maori chief predicting that other people would come to this land whose God died? I don’t know whether or not it’s correct. (I’m not talking about the easily found info re Maori seers’ prophecies in relation to which form of church fellowship was best for their people. I’m talking about before Maori had any contact with Europeans.)

    That question is an interesting aside to me.

    I think that in general we have not yet embraced Christianity quite like we could, and it is an exciting proposition. As usual, my comment will conjure up all sorts of strange surmising. It’s not possible to explain in blog comments all my ideas. I’m simply making them to encourage others to think about the Christianity issue, even in light of the question of a name change.

    As for the name change, perhaps it will happen natural like through social media.

    • Gezza

       /  31st January 2019

      I agree that a name change goes naturally with other discussions and decisions, including what we as individuals decide about Christianity – whether we ditch it (usually because of suffering through hypocrisy) or embrace it (as individuals, and in ways which rise above the past difficulties).

      No it isn’t getting ditched because of suffering through hypocrisy, it’s getting ditched because so much of the Bible is ridiculous that nobody with a reasonable education & the simple ability to think rationally & logically can believe it.

  1. More on Aotearoa New Zealand name recognition petition — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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