Aotearoa is the current M?ori name for New Zealand. It means “land of the long white cloud” in the indigenous Te Reo M?ori language. Recently, New Zealand’s Maori party launched a petition demanding official change of New Zealand’s name to “Aotearoa”. The party also demanded the government to restore the Maori names for all towns, cities and places in the country.
M?ori people in New Zealand believe that the name “Aotearoa” was first given by Kupe – an East Polynesian explorer who figures in folklores that goes back to 1200-1300 AD. New Zealand’s current name was derived “Nieuw Zeeland” after the Dutch province of Zeeland.