60,000 sign petition for Aotearoa rename

Te Pati Māori says more than 60,000 people have signed their petition to formally rename New Zealand to Aotearoa.

The petition was launched on the party’s website two weeks ago, with co-leader Rawiri Waititi saying there was a "momentum shift and a mood for change".

"It's not to change who we are but I think to strengthen who we are as a nation.”

The party is also calling for the official names of towns and cities to be replaced with their original Māori names by 2026.

"This is about reinstating the original name for this country, Aotearoa, and many of the place names too." He said.

The numbers come on the back of a 1News Colmar Brunton Poll, which revealed 41 per cent of respondents wanted Aotearoa to be either the official name of the motu or favoured a dual-naming.

Some 9 per cent of people wanted a complete change to Aotearoa, while 31 per cent said they were keen on Aotearoa, New Zealand.

No-brainer for the young

Te Pati Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa Packer said the results which showed 58 per cent favoured ‘New Zealand’ were representative of an older generational view.

"This is a no-brainer for the younger population. What we have is an ilk, and sadly they're often the ones that have been polled, who are older and adverse to change.

"If not Aotearoa now, then when? When is it OK for us to be Māori and to express ourselves?"

Asked for her view on the poll Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she favoured the interchangeability of the two names.

"For me, I’d like to continue to see it used interchangeably and therefore whether or not there needs to be an official name change really becomes a bit of a moot point because it just becomes part of the way we refer to our country," Jacinda Ardern said.

National is calling for a referendum on the issue, accusing the government of rebranding the country "by stealth", citing government departments that use Aotearoa in their branding, communications and marketing.

In response to Te Pati Māori’s petition New Zealand First leader Winston Peters launched his own petition to retain the name New Zealand. Peters says "Keep it New Zealand" has received 16,000 signatures.