Don Brash                  
Hobson’s Pledge Trust

Of those who have an opinion, 64 per cent oppose changing the name of New Zealand to Aotearoa, according to a Curia Research poll released today, prompting Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash to call for a binding referendum on the issue.

Release of the poll comes on the heels of a petition by the Maori Party calling on Parliament to change the country’s official name to Aotearoa and “officially restore the Te Reo Maori names for all towns, cities and place names”.

The telephone poll of 1000 eligible New Zealand voters randomly selected from 24,000 nationwide landline and cellphone numbers from September 2-9 found that:

  • 49 percent of New Zealanders oppose changing the name of the country to Aotearoa and a large 39 percent are strongly opposed. Only 28 percent support a change.
  • 42 percent oppose changing the name of the country to Aotearoa New Zealand and 34 percent are strongly opposed. Only 35 percent support a change.

Opposition to changing to Aotearoa is strongest among ACT supporters, 69%; undecided voters, 64%; National, 61%; and NZ First, 51%.

Even among Labour voters, 39 per cent oppose a change, while Maori Party voters are evenly divided.  Only Greens voters strongly support a change. 

Dr Brash said: “We are very much in favour of this issue being properly tested”.

“While we obviously hope and expect that the Maori Party might get a big surprise, we support any initiative designed to find out what the people think,” he said.

“This is clearly an issue whose time has come, with National Party leader Judith Collins last month backing a proposal by one of her MPs to hold a referendum on the subject,” Dr Brash said.

“Something as fundamentally important as the very name of the country must eventually be the subject of a referendum,” he said.

“No matter how many signatures the Maori Party get on their petition, it would disenfranchise New Zealanders if such a petition led to a change of the country’s name,” Dr Brash said.

The figure of 64 per cent opposition excludes undecideds. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%. Responses by age, location, and deprivation may be found at

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Referendum call as 64% oppose ‘Aotearoa’
Press Release

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