The campaign calls on the House of Representatives to recover the Maori names of all cities, towns and place names, according to a statement announcing the petition on Tuesday.
“The time has come for Maori Rio to return to its rightful place as the first official language of this country. We are a Polynesian country, we are Autorova,” the statement said, adding that the name change process should be completed. 2026.
“Tangada is burning because the names of our ancestors have been suppressed, insulted and ignored. We are in the 21st century and this must change,” the text says. Thangada means “people of the land”, but it is commonly used to refer to the people of Maori.
According to the report, proficiency in the Mari language dropped from 90% in 1910 to 26% in 1950.
“In just 40 years, the crown has taken away our language, and we still feel the effects,” the party said.
Currently, only 3% of the population living in the country can speak the language, he added.
“The Crown has a duty to do everything it can to restore the status of our language,” the statement continued.
“That is, it should be accessible in the clearest places – on our televisions, our radio stations, road signs, maps and official advertisements and our educational systems.”
Tuesday, The party tweeted The petition has received 12,000 signatures. “It’s huge,” the tweet read.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Artern has not publicly commented on the petition, but she has already expressed opposition from right-wing ACT leader David Seymour.
“People can now use more place names”, Seymour tweeted. “What the Maori party is saying is that they want to ban people from calling our country New Zealand.”
In September 2020, Artern said the overuse of Aotearoa with New Zealand was a “positive thing”. But the official name change was “not something we explored,” he said.
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