The New Zealand Maori party launched a petition on its website to officially change the country's name dot Aotearoa, a longstanding demand from the main indigenous group in the islands state.
Aotearoa in Te Reo Maori means, land of the long white cloud, and is used by the Maori nation to refer to New Zealand.
Rawiri Waititi leader of the Te Party Maori said it was well past time that the Te Reo Maori is restored to its rightful place as the first and official language of the country. We are a Polynesian country, we are Aotearoa
The Maori Party also called on parliament to change the nomenclature of New Zealand to its original Te Reo Maori names by 2026, we are in the 21st century, this must change.
Maoris are the largest ethnic minority in New Zealand representing 16,5% of the population. The Reo Maori became an official language in New Zealand in 1987, alongside English.
The name New Zealand comes from colonial times when cartographers from the Netherlands named it after its Zeeland province.
However, Aotearoa is not without controversy, since it is believed that originally it only referred to the North Island and not the whole country.
The name Aotearoa, however, has a controversial history, not least as it is believed to have originally been used to refer only to the North Island, rather than the country as a whole.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not been absent from the debate and last year admitted the interchangeability of names during an interview with the New Zealand Herald.
I hear more and more often the use of Aotearoa interchangeable with New Zealand and that is a positive thing. Over the years, NZ government officials and some companies refer to the Aotearoa option with or alongside New Zealand, including passports.