An analogy for the whole New Zealand versus Aotearoa debate can be found in my distant past, when a friend of the family at the ripe old age of forty-something, declared that she hated the name that we had always called her. It was the name that she had been called growing up and it was the name on her birth certificate. However, she no longer wanted to be called by that name and from that day forward she wanted to be called by a new name, one that she preferred.
Years later we would still accidentally call her by her birth name only to be punished with an angry frown and pursing of the lips. It was such a negative experience that a decade after we were no longer in contact with the friend, we would still correct each other if we accidentally mentioned her in passing using her birth name.
So what has this got to do with the push to change our country’s name to Aotearoa? Well first of all, New Zealand is our country’s birth name and nothing can change that. All the people pushing to rename it Aotearoa because they don’t like its birth name, are creating negativity amongst those of us who quite correctly want to call New Zealand, New Zealand. It doesn’t matter how many frowny faces and pursed lips they send our way, New Zealanders are not going to easily call New Zealand Aotearoa just because the politically correct have unilaterally decided that it is a better name because of their soft racism against anything of European origin.
Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand which is why if I was speaking in Maori I would say Kei te noho ahau ki Aotearoa not Kei te noho ahau ki New Zealand.
The politically correct are demanding that we not use the English name for New Zealand when speaking in English yet they would never demand that the English name for Aotearoa be used when speaking in Maori.
This lack of consistency exposes it for the soft racism that it is.
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