You may know us only as New Zealand but the native name is Aotearoa.
The name was originally used by Māori in reference to only the North Island, with the name of the whole country being Aotearoa me Te Waipounamu, North Island and South Island. In the pre-European era, Māori did not have one name for the country as a whole.
Several meanings for Aotearoa have been proposed for the name; the most popular translation usually given is “long white cloud”, or variations. This refers to the cloud formations which helped early Polynesian navigators find the country.
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