Te Ati Awa / NZTA Te Reo Slip-Up

An official language

By Roger Childs

This happened in 1987 with the passing of the Maori Language Act. To encourage the promotion of the new bi-lingual status of the country, a Maori Language Commission, renamed Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, was established in 1991.

Around the country in libraries, doctors waiting rooms, hospitals, schools and public facilities the bilingual signs and notices went up.

My understanding is that all government departments and agencies, as well as local authorities, are required to feature both English and Te Reo on all signs and displays.

There has been a slip-up along the Kapiti Expressway tracks.

Excellent historical information but …

The wonderful cycleway/walkway along the entire length of the expressway with many entrance and exit points, is a fantastic and very well used access system for people on bikes or on foot.

More of the same, exactly.

In addition there are seats at strategic points, clear signage on destinations and distances, and tall, attractive structures with a Maori design, along the way, informing you about the local history, and especially the origins of local names.

The Wharemauku Stream “information board” tells you about

  • the history of the stream and Wharemauku pa
  • background on whaling in the area
  • material on the use of harakeke / flax in earlier times.

These imposing structures were a joint venture between Te Āti Awa and The New Zealand Transport Agency. The information is the same on each side.

Just one problem: they are both in English.

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