Bilingual kura school signage unveiled in Napier

Representatives from Mana Whenua, Waka Kotahi, Te Mātāwai, Napier City Council and St Patrick’s School at the unveiling of the new Kura School sign outside St Patrick’s School in Napier.

Te Mātāwai and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency unveiled one of the first bilingual kura/school road signs last week after a recent rule change.

The Land Transport: Traffic Control Devices (Kura/Schools Signs) Rule Amendment 2022, which specifies requirements for “school” signs that may be used on roads, now requires bilingual sign supplements for new school boards.

Speaking at the launch in Ahuriri Napier, Dr. Jeremy Tātere MacLeod, Local Board Representative of Te Mātāwai and Director of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, said that Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated welcomes efforts to re-standardize the te reo Māori in our tribal area.

“We are a tribe that has suffered significant language loss and initiatives like these are going a long way towards reintegrating te reo Māori into the district.”

Te Mātāwai Board Co-Chairman Reikura Kahi said this kaupapa represents a positive contribution to Māori and the Crown’s shared vision, kia māhorahora te reo Māori – to share and celebrate the Māori language.

“We see this as a crucial step in expanding the spaces where people feel empowered to use the Maori language in their communities.”

Waka Kotahi’s Land Transport Manager, Kane Patena, said this small but significant milestone represents a significant opportunity to increase Aotearoa whānui’s engagement with te reo Māori through signage.

The introduction of the new rule is part of the He Tohu Huarahi Māori Bilingual Signage Program led by Te Mātāwai and Waka Kotahi, which will see more bilingual signs activated using a phased approach.

“Waka Kotahi’s vision to help make te reo Māori seen, heard and spoken is aligned with Te Mātāwai,” said Kane.

The amended rule shows the word kura in bolder type above the word school to differentiate te reo Māori and English on new school signage.

Kura/school signs will be used by road enforcement authorities when existing signs need to be replaced or new signs are introduced. Existing English-only school signs remain legal road signs until replaced.

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