Māori Party promises to rename New Zealand to Aotearoa if elected

The Māori Party says if it is elected they will rename New Zealand to Aotearoa and all cities, towns and places will have their European names replaced with the original Māori.

Waiariki candidate Rawiri Waititi announced the policy on Monday saying the party will ensure the changes are in place by 2026.

"It's a bold move towards making Te Reo Māori a language for all of Aotearoa. It elevates Te Reo Māori to its rightful place, in a system that has long undervalued its significance," he said in a statement. 

The policy also promises Te Reo Māori and Māori History will be made core curriculum subjects up to Year 10 and all primary schools will have to incorporate Te Reo Māori into 25 percent of their curriculum by 2026, increasing to 50 percent by 2030.

Under the Māori  Party all state-funded broadcasters will need a "basic fluency" of Te Reo if they want to continue working.

"These changes are an incredibly important step in Aotearoa’s recognition of Te Ao Māori as the indigenous peoples of this land and of Te Reo Māori being the official language of this country," said Waititi.

The Party will also establish a Māori  Standards Authority which will have legislative power to audit all public service departments to ensure they are meeting cultural competency standards

Waititi says the authority would hold public departments accountable and remove the "tokenistic approach" to tikanga Māori which is currently held.