Brace for a change of name for our country, fellow New Zealanders, and prepare to become Aotearowers or some such.
According to this report on the Stuff website:
New Zealand could officially become Aotearoa, Wellington could be Te Whanganui-a-Tara, and Christchurch could be Ōtautahi, if the Māori Party takes power at the 2020 election.
This piece of pap, penned by a political reporter who portends a comprehensive rewriting of New Zealand place names, is posited on an improbable “if”.
Let’s look at it again – it’s
” … if the Māori Party takes power at the 2020 election.”
Māori Party candidate Rawiri Waititi said renaming New Zealand and its place names would be a bold move that
“ … elevates te reo Māori to its rightful place”.
Te reo is an official language. How much more rightful should its place be?
But a report that supposes the Maori Party might take power after the election was curiously bereft of any consideration of the party’s electoral prospects.
True, they might be contemplating a power grab based on a treaty claim to the Waitangi Tribunal. They are dab hands at playing the race card to score political points.
TVNZ recently buckled to Māori Party pressure to be given special treatment and be included in an upcoming minor-party election debate, even though it didn’t qualify under TVNZ criteria for the debate. Passing a 3% polling threshold or having the party’s leader in Parliament, for example.
The party has no MPs in Parliament, last time we looked, and its poll support has ranged between 0.4% and 1.5% since the 2017 general election.
Co-leader John Tamihere welcomed TVNZ’s U-turn on bringing his party into the debate:
“It is pleasing that the leadership at TVNZ have finally awoken to the fact that Māori have separate and distinctive constitutional rights in this country. “
But seems to be aware of the unlikelihood of his becoming the next Prime Minister (or co-Prime Minister). Yesterday he said he believes changing New Zealand’s name to Aotearoa will be part of a “never-ending” Māori political movement and conceded it might not happen by 2026.