How Kia Ora magazine might look if the shift to English names is really embraced.
How Kia Ora magazine might look if the shift to English names is really embraced.

PoliticsDecember 6, 2023

What is ‘NZTA’? A user’s guide to the new, English names 

How Kia Ora magazine might look if the shift to English names is really embraced.
How Kia Ora magazine might look if the shift to English names is really embraced.

Struggling with the prospect of new titles for everything? Here to help. 

Among the early tasks of the new, three-handled broom of government is giving primacy to English names – it’s all laid out in the agreement between NZ First and National under the heading “Strengthening Democracy and Freedoms”.

The name-flip has commenced with some urgency, with new transport minister Simeon Brown instructing Waka Kotahi staff to restore the beloved initialism NZTA. How far the broader shift will go is anyone’s guess, but – voilà! – here’s a guide to help you navigate these brave new Anglicised motu islands.


Bad news for the NZ Trustees’ Association, the NZ Trainers’ Association and the NZ Telugu Association: ye olde NZTA is back on top. 

The change will be difficult for some. For example, various members of the new cabinet yesterday called NZTA the New Zealand Transport Authority (Nicola Willis), the New Zealand Transport Agency (Brown) and the New Zealand Transport Authority Association (Shane Jones). Whatever you words, best is to try and remember what they’re talking about is Waka Kotahi

Homes and Communities

You’d be forgiven for being befuddled if you saw this one in the wild, too. It is in fact the second part of the name of the agency you’ve come to know and love (or not love) as Kāinga Ora. (No, not Housing NZ, which was merged with Homes, Land, Community to form KO in 2019. And if you’re thinking about “Housing Corp”, you’re really showing your age.)

Heliacal rising of the Pleiades star cluster.

Ministry for Children

This is Oranga Tamariki. Once known as the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, the name Oranga Tamariki had previously been the subject of a campaign for change, on the basis that it did not deserve a Māori title.  


Thirty-five million visitors have gone through the doors at Te Papa across the last quarter-century but if only it had been called Monz – the Museum of New Zealand – they might have actually known where they were. With the English title vaulted to the top, people will flock “to Monz”, with a “Monztas” holiday programme and Friends of Te Papa replaced with “Monz Amies”.

Also Hayden Donnell will have an opportunity to at last conquer his Everest by collecting morsels of New Zealand kitsch and declaring, “Get it to Monz”.

Heliacal rising of the Pleiades star cluster

Formerly Matariki

Greater Hamilton 

Hard to say whether this will be included but if so this is the region previously known as Waikato

Gidday Magazine

Passengers flying Air New Zealand must be utterly bewildered by the glossy mag this month. 

What do any of these words mean? It’s not my birthday?!

If the memo gets through, we can expect the national carrier, majority owned by the government, to reconfigure Kia Ora accordingly. It will include a special offer to join the exclusive Fern Frond Spiral Club.


The government-initiated retirement savings scheme previously known, confusingly, as KiwiSaver. See also ApteryxesAustralisBank and the most common political term of them all: Ordinary Hardworking Apteryxes Australis.

Keep going!