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Celebrating Māori Language Day with bilingual signs

The Slow Down sign in Takapuwahia.

The bilingual Slow Down sign in Takapuwahia went up in 2017.

Bilingual signs will become more commonplace around Porirua soon.

A commitment has been made to put up signs in both Māori and English around the city, with the approach part of Porirua City Council’s partnership with Ngati Toa, and celebrating the city’s diversity and culture.

Ngāti Toa kaumatua Taku Parai says seeing signage around Porirua in Māori will be incredibly pleasing and recent increase in the use Te Reo in everyday life – not just Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – shows a shift in attitude to becoming bilingual.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate our language and show that it is valued. The next generation will see we have pride in Te Reo when they see signs around.”

Porirua’s population is 20 per cent Māori and its ties with the mana whenua are stronger than ever. Diversity makes the city a special place, Council Chief Executive Wendy Walker says, and reflecting that diversity in our signage is one way to highlight that.

“Bilingual signage, in places like on roads and around the city centre, will not go up overnight, but will happen when existing signs need replacement,” Ms Walker said.

“Our city is growing and changing all the time, but we must remember Māori is an official language of New Zealand and making it more visible in our community acknowledges its importance to us.

“Porirua has the chance to embrace our identity and this is one way to assert that.

“This is about making Te Reo Māori business-as-usual for all this Council’s signage.”

13 Sep 2018