Index – Abroad – New Zealand can change its name

05/08/2022 13:46

The Wall Street Journal reports that some lawmakers want New Zealanders to drop the colonial-era name and adopt a different one.

More than 70,000 people have signed a petition to change the Dutch-English name of New Zealand (Nieuw Zeeland) to the indigenous Maori name Aotearoa, prompting a parliamentary committee to consider the idea, according to NPR. in his article.

Aotearoa is a Maori word referring to the clouds that, according to indigenous oral traditions, helped early Polynesian navigators on their way here. Many countries around the world are rethinking their identity, and as part of the process they are trying to confront their turbulent colonial past.

In some cases, this involves changing the official name, as happened in Eswatini in 2018, when the absolute ruler decided that the country should no longer be referred to as Swaziland. It is reported that Australia has changed its national anthem in recent years because it does not reflect Aboriginal history The Wall Street Journal.

The word Aotearoa has become more common in everyday speech in recent decades, appearing on banknotes and passports and often appearing in government documents, either alone or in combination with New Zealand. When the United States and New Zealand issued a joint statement following their leaders’ meeting in May, Jacinda Ardern Aotearoa New Zealand Mentioned as Prime Minister. Maori is one of New Zealand’s three official languages, but its use has been restricted in the past.

The prime minister’s spokesman, Jacinda Ardern, said Aotearoa would be welcome to use it more widely, but the government was not considering changing the official name. Among those in favor of the referendum is Christopher Luxon, leader of the opposition National Party, who says this is an issue the government should not decide.

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