Revealed: If New Zealanders think we should change our name to Aotearoa

A new poll has asked Kiwis if we think we should change the name of our country to Aotearoa  - and the results are now in.

The 1News Colmar Brunton poll asked New Zealanders: "What do you think the country should officially be called?"

It found 58 percent of Kiwis wanted to keep the name 'New Zealand', while 31 percent wanted to see us changed to 'Aotearoa New Zealand'. Just 9 percent wanted 'New Zealand' dropped completely for 'Aotearoa'.

Earlier this month the Māori Party launched a petition for 'Aotearoa' to officially replace 'New Zealand', and all place names to be restored to their original Māori names.

"We are a Polynesian country, we are Aotearoa," co-leader Rawiri Waititi said.

"Our petition calls on Parliament to change New Zealand to Aotearoa and begin a process, alongside whānau, hapū and iwi, to identify and officially restore the original te reo Māori names for all towns, cities and places right across the country by 2026."

But this has been met by a rival petition by lobby group Hobson's Pledge, which is pushing for the name 'Aotearoa' to be removed from official use until a binding referendum is held.

"Something as fundamentally important as changing the very name of the country must eventually be the subject of a referendum," spokesperson and former National leader Don Brash says.

"The name 'New Zealand' is both an identity and a brand that has been built over 180 years. We should think long and hard before changing it."

What do other parties say?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she prefers to use both 'New Zealand' and 'Aotearoa'.

"For me, I'd like to continue to see it used interchangeably, and therefore whether or not there needs to be an official name change really becomes a bit of a moot point, because it just becomes part of the way we refer to our country," she said at her press conference on Tuesday.

Last month National leader Judith Collins backed MP Stuart Smith's call for a referendum on whether New Zealand should be called Aotearoa. He said despite there not being a public poll on the name 'New Zealand', there should be one on 'Aotearoa'.

"We could probably go to a referendum on [it] and ask people what they want. People are starting to get, I think, quite tetchy about it," Collins said at the time.

Former deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has labelled the Māori Party's plans "left-wing radical bulldust".

"Changing our country's name and town and city names is just dumb extremism," he tweeted.

"We are not changing to some name with no historical credibility. We are for keeping us New Zealand."

And ACT leader David Seymour says there are more important things to focus on.

"Personally, I say New Zealand, I'm not interested in going out and policing what other people say, and I know a lot of young people out there who say look, you can call it Timbuktu if you like, so long as I can afford a house there," he told The AM Show last month. 

"I just think there are some bigger issues for most people."