First road signs in Te Reo Māori – Taihoa, Haere

Kahu

Drivers of vehicles in the Bay of Plenty between Te Teko and Awakeri witnessed the first use of the ‘Taihoa’ (Wait) and ‘Haere’ (Go) signs used by traffic managers. Maori Video / Television

Originally posted by Maori television

Drivers of vehicles in the Bay of Plenty between Te Teko and Awakeri witnessed the first use of the ‘Taihoa’ (Wait) and ‘Haere’ (Go) signs used by traffic managers yesterday.

The idea came from a 30-year veteran of traffic management, David Taui of Te Arawa, who wanted te reo Māori to be used in his working environment to let the language develop and educate the multitudes who would directed by the road signs in te reo Maori.

Although not yet licensed by the New Zealand Transport Agency, Taui has taken a stand for the Maori language and opened a “30 minute window to try out the signs”.

“We had the police stop at our rakau and we had no opposition. Nobody showed up today and told us we couldn’t use them. We have a legal traffic management plan in place. place to be at this site on State Highway 30 Awakeri right here today,” said the Taui enthusiast.

This is not the first time the English language on signage has been challenged, with the late Hawea Vercoe of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Rotoiti determined to have “Kura” on its buses in 2006 rather than “School”. He eventually won the support of the government of the day.

Yesterday, Taui and his wife Mel set up a legal traffic management site to safely divert vehicles around arborists working on overhanging trees on the roads.

‘That’s exciting’

One of those who worked with the tree crew was Rangitane Harawira from Tūhoe and Ngāti Rongomaiwāhine who often uses Taui and the crew for traffic management when needed.

“There are non-Maori singers having their songs translated into Maori. But translating and being used on street signs is new.”

Vehicle drivers in the Bay of Plenty between Te Teko and Awakeri witnessed the first use of "taihoa" (Wait) and "Haere" (Go) signs used by traffic managers.  Maori Photo/TV
Drivers of vehicles in the Bay of Plenty between Te Teko and Awakeri witnessed the first use of the “Taihoa” (Wait) and “Haere” (Go) signs used by traffic managers. Maori Photo/TV

Dāmel Taui led the team with his Tuakana Wiremu Taui. The pair controlled traffic with the specially carved handle creating a Pouwhenua (Maori stake of strength and position / traffic signs) and a whare (house shaped head with the words Taihoa and Haere).

Taui had the signs made by a friend and when completed, the Pouwhenua were made and offered to the Kaupapa.

Taui spoke with his twin mokopuna’s dad and it was agreed that the names of the Pouwhenua would be named in their memory, Pouwhenua o Te Mana and Pouwhenua o Taika Taui” (The Twin Signs in Manual Traffic Control).

Damel Taui up front

“It’s been pretty good. No negative things, loads of waves, loads of smiles, actually I got a pukana from a lady,” Dāmel said.

Transport agency Waka Kotahi NZ said it wanted Te Reo Maori to be seen, spoken and heard wherever possible, in order to continue the revitalization of the language.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Land Transport Director Kane Patena said the layout and content of traffic signs in New Zealand are governed by the Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004.

“What is allowed on traffic signs is quite limited in terms of wording and symbols.

“We accept that the current signage rule does not reflect many people’s aspirations for te reo Māori and we want that to change,” Patena said.

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