A new Māori speed sign at the southern gateway into Rotorua has been unveiled this morning heralding the start of Māori Language Week.
The theme for this year’s Te Wiki o te reo Māori is Kia Kaha te Reo Māori – Let the Māori Language be strong.
The chair of Te Tatau o Te Arawa, Te Taru White, says the new Māori language sign epitomises the essence of the theme, Kia Kaha te Reo Māori.
“It makes sense our city’s entranceways to Rotorua reflects our culture and that in essence is both English and Māori. Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu. Although this unveiling of a single new Māori speed sign is a small gesture, its value is huge. It follows the path laid out by the Rotorua Reorua movement and plans we have for the future but also strengthens our resolve to negotiate, plan and work with Council and the NZ Transport Agency,” he says.
A small ceremony to mark the unveiling has taken place on Hemo Road near the entranceway this morning.
Rotorua Mayor, Steve Chadwick, welcomes the occasion saying it shows the district’s commitment to Rotorua Reorua.
“We have a lot to do and this single speed sign marks a commitment to follow through and continue to make progress. This Māori speed sign sets a precedent although there is a similar sign in the Rotoiti community, Hemo Road is the first main reo speed sign at a Rotorua entranceway, which we will need to build on,” she says.
NZ Transport Agency’s Bay of Plenty Transport System Manager, Rob Campbell, says the sign shows what can happen when groups work together.
“The Transport Agency respects and values the importance of te reo Māori as one of our country’s official languages, and we are working with local councils to incorporate bilingual road signage while achieving safety outcomes.
“We are looking forward to continuing to work with the Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Tatau o Te Arawa on their plans to recognise te reo Māori in Rotorua,” Mr Campbell says.