Petition launched to add Aotearoa to country's official name

A Kiwi man has launched a petition to add Aotearoa to our country's official name.

If accepted, it would require Parliament to pass legislation requiring a referendum on whether the official name of New Zealand should change to include the Māori name.

"Official documents of national identity, birth and citizenship certificates, passports and money-notes have Aotearoa and New Zealand together as the names of the country," Danny Tahau Jobe's petition states.

"Only 'New Zealand' has official status. Both names together will officially confirm/enhance nationhood and uniqueness in the world."

But, as of Tuesday, only 1072 people had signed. Mr Tahau Jobe says when he launched the petition he was "naïve" and didn't realise how many signatures he had to get.

"From my perspective, you have to start somewhere. If you don't start you're just looking backwards and staying where you are," he told Magic Talk on Tuesday.

"A lot of people don't realise the world Aotearoa, as far as the country name is concerned, isn't official.

"New Zealand - it's a name from a Dutch country from way back when Aotearoa's the name itself."

Mr Tahau Jobe says the support so far has been encouraging. He's started a Facebook page to raise awareness of his petition.

"A lot of people do think that we should move forward," he says.

"This is something that we can all share in and be proud of. It's our identity; it makes us so unique in the world.

"I truly believe as a country we need to go forward and share and really look at our identity and who we are."

He's optimistic the public would like to see Aotearoa added.

"My gut feeling, to be honest, is there's a lot of people holding off because they want to see what people of note, people of mana - dare I say fame - and our politicians want to do," he told Magic Talk.