One in three Kiwis support officially changing country's name to Aotearoa

Source: 1News

New figures show one in three New Zealanders support changing the country's name to Aotearoa.

The Māori Party is pushing the policy in the belief the rest of the country will warm to the idea.

For Māori Party leader John Tamihere, an official name change to Aotearoa is now just a waiting game.

“Time will tell. I’ve indicated to you that our nationhood is evolving and it’s just a matter of time.”

New figures from a 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll show one in three eligible voters would support the change, but there are still 61 per cent of Kiwis who don't, while the rest don't know.

Most of those against a name change are older voters and National and ACT Party supporters.

The move also has more opposition in the south of the country, with 71 per cent of Cantabrians against becoming known as Aotearoa.

ACT has labelled the potential change as the lowest possible priority for New Zealand, given the current economic climate.

“I wouldn’t care if we called it ‘Timbuktu’. If we can get on top of the debt, smarter about public health and rebuild a future we can all be proud of,” ACT Party Leader David Seymour said.

However, Green supporters as well as the party leaders are largely at the other end of the scale, with 60 per cent in agreement with the proposal.

Yet the leaders behind our two biggest parties remain united in their stance on the issue.

National Party Leader Judith Collins says the current situation, where both names can be interchangeable, is “perfectly fine” with no need to completely change it.

“I’ve made it very clear, I’m very happy with the name of New Zealand. I think people are already using the terms both, New Zealand and Aotearoa.

I think they’re both perfectly fine and I don’t see a reason to be renaming it anytime soon. People just use whatever names they want to.”

While Labour's Jacinda Ardern says a shift to Aotearoa may happen as a “natural evolution”, she isn’t in any rush to push it forward.

“I think with that there may come the time for consideration. I don’t think it’s the most immediate, pressing thing for us now though.”

The broad agreement from political figureheads appear to signal it may be some time before the debate begins on whether our name as we know it should be changed.