Proposed bilingual road signs are 'cost effective' - Te Mātāwai

Wed, May 31

Bilingual road signs in Aotearoa would be cost effective, according to Te Mātāwai, an organisation that aims to promote the use of te reo in homes and the community.

Speaking to Breakfast this morning, Te Mātāwai co-chair Reikura Kahi said the current signs would be phased out over a number of years.

"It's going to be a cost effective roll out, so signs will only be changed in about 10 or 20 years time.

"So those in the cyclone-hit areas will see bilingual signs earlier than others because their roads have been redone and their signs have been damaged."

Kahi said it won't be a quick process, but it will be significant for the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

"These signs change out anyway, so they will change to bilingual."

It comes after National's transport spokesperson Simeon Brown said the changes would bring significant costs.

A possible bilingual road signs

"There's a whole lot of officials at NZTA spending huge amounts of taxpayers money focusing on changing signage," Brown replied.

He claimed the consultation process around the signage is a huge waste of money.

"What they should be doing is fixing potholes on our roads."

Te Mātāwai is working with Waka Kotahi in the hope of normalising te reo Māori on NZ’s roads.

"It reflects part of New Zealand’s history, our culture and language," Waka Kotahi said.

The project is an extension of the kura school signs introduced last year, with more than 90 designs released last week for public consultation.

"They include expressway and motorway signs, they include destination signs, warning signs – so there is quite a wide range of traffic signs we are proposing changes to."

Bilingual signage is already common in countries like Wales, Ireland and Scotland.


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