In the postwar years numerous former African and some Asian ex-colonies changed their name following independence.

With the African countries I’d be very surprised if the citizens were consulted, rather the new names were imposed by their invariably authoritarian governments.

Name changes for advanced long-established countries are unheard of but should such an event occur, it’s inconceivable it would happen without an endorsing referendum.

Thus in that sense, New Zealand governments of recent years have behaved in a manner more akin to despotic African nations in surreptitiously changing our country’s name without public consultation, let alone a referendum. I refer of course to Aotearoa.

I have long argued that New Zealand is a ridiculous name, unrelated to our history.

But so is Aotearoa, pleasant though it sounds, thanks to all the vowels. I do not want to explain, if asked, that I come from the land of the long white cloud. That’s embarrassing.

Pre-European maoris had no name for the country. As currently, people with some maori ancestry comprise only 15% of the population, unless the public endorse it in a referendum, a maori name would be unjustified.

Now here’s some interesting history. Recently I found my dozen past passports.

The first, issued six decades back by our government to me as a New Zealand born citizen was about 20% bigger than today’s passports, bore the New Zealand coat of arms centre-piece on the cover and in bold gold type above it, the words, “BRITISH PASSPORT”.

Below the coat of arms in a very much smaller typeface was printed “New Zealand”.

That simply reflected those days, New Zealanders back then being imbued in British culture and we felt British.

Another reflection of our sense of Britishness then was the back page in which was supposed to be recorded, as demanded at the top, “NON-STERLING FUNDS FOR TRAVELLING PURPOSES”.

About 1970 we dropped “BRITISH PASSPORT” from the cover but I note one issued to me in 1973 still had printed “BRITISH SUBJECT AND NEW ZEALAND CITIZEN” on page one, as with the earlier one. The next, issued in 1975 removed any reference to “British”.

Thereafter, sometime in the 1990s the passports were reduced in size but their covers bore the coat of arms and the two lines “NEW ZEALAND” and below the coat of arms, “Passport”.

Then about a decade back the front cover was changed, first abandoning gold lettering for silver and now printing “NEW ZEALAND PASSPORT” at the top with the words “Uruwhenua Aotearoa” below. I checked the meaning of “Uruwhenua” and found it translates as “Passport”. Now who would have guessed that pre-European maoris issued passports. It possibly explains the occasional hostility to settlers turning up without a visa.

And so it continues with today’s passports with New Zealand in English and the supposed maori word for Passport and Aotearoa underneath.

That utterly inappropriate Aotearoa nonsense did not turn up on its own accord, rather one or more public servants decided unasked on our behalf to make it an alternative name for New Zealand.

It began appearing on all government department signage, the lapdog media readily adopted it and today it’s ubiquitous.

I say it again. If the country is to change its name then that should not be done African despotic style but instead by a public referendum.

Some projections say our largest non-European group in New Zealand will soon be Chinese, something that hugely heartens me.

When that happens will the unnamed bureaucrats reflect that reality and print on our passport Nyoo Zealand, nyoo being Mandarin for “new”? and if not, why not?

Many long-established European countries’ names are now historically redundant but being well-established, are accepted without any cry to update them. That is a grown-up mature approach.

New Zealand is a well-established name even if historically absurd. My feeling is we should leave well along and I suspect in a referendum that would be the popular view.

But Aotearoa is equally historically inaccurate and as said, has been surreptitiously imposed by anonymous public servants without reference to the public. It’s time it stopped.


And so goes SB.
It becomes clearer daily we live like a communist country. Just look who our largest trading partner is.
Leighton Smith has been on to it for a long time. His oft reference on talk back was “little by little, bit by bit”. I am sickened daily by the current need to start so many things in a language I don’t need or want to understand. I find it as insulting as it is sickening and instead of turning me towards the language and its people it has the opposite effect.
And the use of the language has and is, increasing exponentially as we get brainwashed like all good little communists.
Of as big, if not bigger, concern is the money train following this nonsense that just gets bigger and gathers speed ( and passengers).
It is a very slippery slope downhill from here.

    Watching the opening of so many things today with the compulsory Te Reo has as much that is genuine as teaching a cockatoo to speak

Aotearoa is not even a Maori word, it is a European hoax
We are talking here about the name Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.
It is being promoted, and not for the first time, as a replacement for the old-fashioned, misspelt moniker New Zealand, which, in the eyes of the politically correct, reeks of the Dutch, clogs, windmills and European colonialists in general.
The majority of New Zealanders, including most Maori, have been through an education process which has convinced them that the original Maori name for the country was Aotearoa, and that this was arbitrarily replaced by European invaders.
Strenuous attempts have been made to try to link Aotearoa to pre-European usage.Frankly, it is all bollocks.
Historian Michael King exposed the myth once and for all when he pointed out that Aotearoa was selected and popularised as a romantic Maori name for our islands by Pakeha writers such as William Pember Reeves and Stephenson Percy Smith, as well as the Education Department’s School Journal.
With propaganda like the school journal (catch the little darlings when they are young and they are yours for life), the theory flourished till it became an established fact.
It is now politically incorrect to raise a questioning voice.
The problem is that early Maori were a collection of tribes, not a nation. There was no postal system or communication with the outside world, no diplomatic missions, so there was no need for a collective name for this archipelago and its inhabitants.
The widespread use of Aotearoa followed the arrival of the Europeans. But up till the 20th century the name applied to the North Island only (or parts of the North Island).
Maori generally adopted the name Niu Tireni, a transliteration of New Zealand. Various sources cite Te Ika a Maui (the fish of Maui) as a widely used name for the North Island.
The South Island was Te Wai Pounamu (the waters of greenstone) or Te Wahi Pounamu (the place of greenstone).

    When I was a young fella the Maori narrative then was that Maui fished the country up from the deep. You can imagine the Chinese Whispers circulating around the Marae at the time. Remember Maori had no written language or education system. So zero records of FACT.
    The Maui narrative has since changed due to its inconvenience!

Fair enough to use the Maori where there’s no English alternative but the obsession with lacing an English language text with Maori words when there are far better options available in English itself has reached the point of absurdity.
English has a vast choice of precise and widely known words and phrases, the biggest vocabulary of any language. The incoming productivity commissioner, nana, chose such obscure and ambiguous nonsense as “kaitiaki o taonga is my kaupapa” in his recent press release.
Looks like someone wanting to obfuscate rater than communicate or trying to obtain woke brownie points to me.
Regrettably we have a government that rewards and values this sort of drivel.

Name change by stealth!

Stephenson Percy Smith was born in Suffolk in 1840 and emigrated to New Zealand with his parents in 1849, growing up on a Taranaki farm. Very interesting chap : https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2s33/smith-stephenson-percy

Anyway, he became an amateur ethnographer and wrote up the fictional story of the Great Fleet, Kupe, etc. He wanted a Maori name for NZ and came up with Aotearoa. So – Aotearoa is the fictional Maori name for NZ, penned by an Englishman.

Of course history is being rewritten fast, so this is now being disputed. However, there was no Maori name for NZ in the Treaty of Waitangi, and in fact Maori didn’t call themselves Maori either….seeing themselves as separate tribes or nations. I did squawk rather when I heard Dame Naida Glavish proclaim on television in June this year that “It was Aotearoa, before a foreign sailor came along here.” It was not. Another point is that, thanks to Abel Tasman’s discovery of NZ in 1642, in 1643 the States General (Parliament) of Holland named New Zealand, (Nieuwe Zeeland). So… we have had this name for 377 years and despite the English being the main colonisers we didn’t see fit to change it.

Well said Sr Bob, or should that be Rangatira Ropata. I have been concerned for some time about the Maorification of the primary language of NEW ZEALAND by stealth without reference to the Demos. It occurs to me that the only way the silent, or should that be the fearful, majority can get this issue on the table is a citizens initiated referendum. Politicians are absolving themselves of any responsibility and are side-stepping this issue. To get the necessary groundswell if support will require a concerted publicity campaign. May I suggest that you use your considerable public profile to promote the cause.

I think its important not to fall in to a “Pro-Maori/Anti-Maori position” as that’s unhelpful. The concern here is the stealthy, undemocratic mode of changing fundamental things like the name of a country without public support.
Also-the “BRITISH PASSPORT” used to be influential as the Brits still had some punch back then. My father in law was a Sergeant Major in the Royal Marines (lovely guy) and the Brits used to sail over and collect British Citizens if they were caught up in wars or disasters etc.

Mele Kalikimaka to you all—- hawaian xmas greeting—- they make stuff up like the maoris

We sleep safer in our beds because at last a man is standing-up to the insidious attempts to cripple our democracy (with some thanks to Mr Churchill)

Tiresome but at the same time oddly amusing to read the lead article and then become hugely amused by the sycophantic comments that emerge.
Of course it is entirely possibly that Sir Robert is simply taking the Mickey yet again

    Also entirely possible that you’ve mistakenly dismissed genuine and reasonable commentators as mere obsequious sychophants. Play the ball.

‘Aotearoa’ – The land of the long white cloud – apparently.

It’s fast becoming: Aotearoa – The Land Of The Wrong White Crowd…..!

The “maorification” of New Zealand concerns me greatly language wise. The great English poets are no longer taught in schools which will lead to a pidgin English NZ dialect, sadly.

Try living in the naki …. you’re not allowed to call the mountain you grew up calling egmont by that name anymore , oh no no …. n not allowed to call Taranaki the naki anymore no no no …. we knickname everything , even good old En Zed , I don’t mind people hving an opinion but detest being told how to think or what to call stuff … it’s my brain ,back off …. libertarianism…. you do it your way n I’ll do it mine .

Michael Sommerville December 22, 2020 at 9:10 am

I have been concerned about this trend for some time. Thank you for highlighting it. I now deliberately start my emails with “Salutations” and always end with Kind regards.

This move has come with direction from the Government. It is strong within TVNZ as clearly demonstrated when poor old Dan the English weatherman was required, during Maori language week, to do an introduction in Maori. It was embarrassing and I felt for the guy as I believe he is an excellent weather presenter. I have tried watching TV3 news but find them too far left and similarly inclined as if this is a required trend. Similarly with Andrew Savill whose pronunciation is particularly Anglicised.

Air New Zealand, having a majority government ownership, are also required to comply.

I have been known to be just a little non PC and I refuse to let this exist without comment. If we say nothing it will be taken as acceptance and that is certainly not the case with this stale pale male.

With reference to the “A” word. I’m somewhat surprised Team NZ, hadn’t rebranded to Team Aoteroa?
Myself Interpreting the “A” word to mean land of large white colony?
The new name should not make any reference to colour. Inappropriate is the reference to the “White” word, with its obvious privileged connotation.
Colonisation by the Europeans, has resulted in exactly what my interpretation suggest.
Clearly, Maori, having sold out to the colonist.
Maori breed into obscurity. And now out populated by Chinese, with the Indians soon to follow.
So the new name should be encompassing of the Euro/Indo/Chinese roots we have?
Maori names retired and reverted back to the traditional majority inclusive European identity.
Better still, rename to be more inclusive of our diversity. With Maori, soon to be, at best, a forth placed minority.
The second official language possibly Mandarin or Hindi?

In my limited experience, Mandarin speakers call NZ xin xilan – xin being Mandarin for new, and the characters for xilan translate as ‘west obstruct ‘. On the the other hand, they use the nyoo sound for New York. Most people I mix with speak

Like you, I prefer NZ to Aotearoa, but could get used to a change if the name is determined democratically; however, imposition by government fiat massively irritates.

Not too worries if it is New Zilnd or Aotroa… but I do dislike having the new presented in “Maorish’, some kind of hybrid language that does credit to neither English nor Maori.

Yes leave it as it is at present.
Lets get a business plan tighter first and in a couple of years when we have to achieved all the objectives THEN have a poll on some names
Heavens sake , lets get our Country going first

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