Aotearoa, or Aotea, is the Māori name for New Zealand: Ka hoe mai nei, a, ka u ki Whangaparaoa, ara ki Aotea nei. It is an apparent allusion to the land having been pulled from the depths by Māui. All Polynesian islands were thus hauled up by deities from the realms of the Dark Night to the "White Day." The Marquesas are called Ao-maama (Ao-marama), "the World of Light."
Aotearoa, literally "land of the long white cloud."
- Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 15.
This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.