Consultation for more bilingual traffic signs begins

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Te Mātāwai and Waka Kotahi have released a flotilla of bilingual traffic signs for public consultation.

The consultation is part of the He Tohu Huarahi Māori bilingual traffic signs programme to enable the use of te reo Māori on traffic signs across Aotearoa.

The 94 signs are grouped by destination signs, motorway and expressway advisory signs and others.

Te Pae Whakamāori, a group of te reo Māori specialists, was created to review and suggest translations for the signs, followed by a moderation process.

The consultation follows the successful rule change last year to enable bilingual kura/school traffic signs.

Te Mātāwai co-chair Reikura Kahi says it’s “a great sign of partnership between Te Mātāwai and government”.

“It’s been a relationship formed over two years, a lot of back and forth but overall we’re very happy with the progress. Having 94 signs is a good movement forward” in having te reo Māori more visible in the country.

“We’re encouraging all tamariki and whānau to engage with the signs, encourage them to speak Māori at home and kura. So, it’s good for te reo Māori.”

Though bilingual traffic signs aren’t new in the world, having them in Aotearoa is important for upholding and recognising te reo Māori as an official language in the country.

“Most of Aotearoa has already embraced te reo Māori. We hear it on our TVs, radio, events, school – this generation is actually more open to te reo Māori culture than ever before,” Kahi says