Rotorua unveiled its first bilingual welcome sign today.
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says, “We hope over time you're going to see a lot more of the reo incorporated into road signage.”
In April the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) told the council the sign must be written in English, but both groups then came to an agreement to tweak the sign so both languages can appear.
“Well done NZTA. This has taken a bit of work and we have got there so I'm very proud...it's a small but hugely valuable significant signpost in the ground today” says Chadwick.
NZTA did not attend the unveiling but said in a statement that "they respect and value the importance of te reo Māori and are working with local councils to incorporate bilingual road signage.
Kingi Biddle of Te Tatau o Te Arawa says, “This is very exciting for Te Tatau o Te Arawa and the Rotorua Lakes Council. This is a step in the right direction.”
Eraia Kiel, also on Te Tatau o Te Arawa, says, “This is very significant because the hundreds and thousands that come to Rotorua will see our language which is being proudly displayed on the lands of Tūhourangi, Ngāti Wahiao and Ngāti Whakaue.”
More bilingual road signs are expected for Rotorua in the near future.