Te Mātāwai and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have agreed to make joint decisions on the next set of bilingual traffic signs that are expected to progress to public consultation later in 2022.
The He Tohu Huarahi Māori Partnership Rōpū will be supported by a multi-disciplinary team from both organisations and an expert panel of te reo Māori translators from across the motu.
Te Mātāwai is an authority derived from Iwi and Māori and is the Crown partner for Māori language revitalisation.
Te Mātāwai Board Co-Chair Reikura Kahi says she and fellow partnership rōpū member Mātai Smith are clear that their focus will be on ensuring iwi Māori views are heard and acted on so that iwi and Māori identity is enhanced at the local level.
“Our vision is Kia ūkaipō anō te reo, to restore te reo Māori as the nurturing first language in the home.
“We have seen the commitment to our language increase in the media, on television, in supermarkets and contemporary music, so seeing more te reo Māori at a community level where whānau live and play is a logical and critical next step.”
Supported by Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport and Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori Māori Language Commission, the final groups of signs will be shared for feedback with a wider iwi/Māori audience and Local Government, who will be responsible for implementing the signs on local roads. Public consultation will also be required as the signs involve making official Rule changes.
Director of Land Transport Kane Patena says the Waka Kotahi vision of contributing to having te reo Māori seen heard and spoken is aligned with Te Mātāwai.
“We are excited about the energy, expertise and commitment to te reo Māori that Te Mātāwai brings to the tēpu. And we expect to make decisions as a Partnership Rōpū that will uphold our values of kotahitanga and manaakitanga.
“Bilingual signs have been used on the roads for some time but progressing these groups of signs at once will help with more consistent, cost-effective and safe use across Aotearoa New Zealand.”
It’s currently expected the bilingual signs will be implemented as new projects are progressed or as older or damaged signs need to be replaced.
A Kura School signs suite was released for public consultation late last year.. An announcement will be made in due course and will include the final specifications for the signs.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has undertaken research to identify international precedents and to examine the safety implications of bilingual signage. Numerous countries use bilingual signs and no evidence was found of bilingual signage increasing the number of people being killed or seriously injured where this has been measured (for example in Scotland).