National does not support bilingual traffic signs in Maori and English says its transport spokesperson, Simeon Brown. “Signs need to be clear. We all speak English, and they should be in English. Place names are okay, but when it comes to important signs saying things like ‘Expressway’, they should be in English, as it’s going to be confusing if you add more words,” he said.

The person responsible for the plan at NZTA is Katie Mayes designated as National Manager Policy & System Planning.

The announcement was put on her LinkedIn CV, naturally putting Maori text first as under this government they are not equal but superior to everyone else.

Te Mātāwai and Waka Kotahi are launching a consultation on bilingual traffic signs. E whakarewa tahi ana a Te Mātāwai me Waka Kotahi i tētahi uiuinga e pā ana ki ngā tohu huarahi reorua. Mā te reoruatanga o ngā tohu huarahi, ka whai hua a Aotearoa whānui inarā ka māhorahora kē atu te reo Māori ki ngā tamariki, ka whakapūmautia te mana o te reo, ka mārama ngā karere whakahaumaru ki te katoa, ā, ka whai wheako motuhake te hunga taetae mai i te ao whānui. Ka tīmata te whakaputanga o ngā tohu nei i ngā tohu me whakahou, pēnei i tohu i pākatukaru kei ngā wāhi i haukerekerehia e te huripari, ā, me whai tohu hou ērā wāhi. E hāngai ana tēnei ki tā mātou rautaki whakaputa i ngā tohu reorua kia māmā ai nga utu, kia whakatūria ngā tohu hou nei ina whakahoungia ētahi tohu, ina pīrangihia ētahi tohu hou hoki. Anei ētahi tauira o ngā momo tohu ka whakamāoritia pea. E kore e whai wāhi mai ngā kōrero ka utaina ki ngā pae pāpori pāpāho, heoi anō whakatakotohia ō whakaaro ki konei. Hei te 5 karaka, Paraire 30 June 2023 kati ai tēnei uiuinga.”

“Using more te reo Māori on traffic signs will contribute to an Aotearoa New Zealand where te reo Māori is normalised for tamariki, where we recognise the mana of te reo, we make safety messages available for all people, and provide a local experience for overseas visitors. The rollout of this package will begin with signs that need to be replaced, particularly in hard-hit regions where signs were damaged during the cyclone and new signs are needed. This also reflects our low-cost implementation approach for bilingual signs, which will be introduced as existing signs are replaced or new signs are needed on the network. This graphic shows you some signs that could be made bilingual. We’d love your feedback—to make an official submission, visit our website: Consultation closes at 5pm, Friday 30 June 2023.”

We received the following comments from Deborah Alexander

The purpose of signs is communication and safety.  But NZTA admits that their objective in cluttering up these signs is not to communicate more effectively with road users and therefore, enhance safety.  It’s to ‘normalise the use of te reo for our tamariki [children]’.  They admit to using the signage for a dual purpose, the second purpose having no relationship to NZTA’s function. Thus, our taxes will be re-directed to new signage instead of road maintenance, and Waikato District Council will find themselves with a new directive as to how they spend their limited FAR budget.

I feel this is a safety issue!

As I looked at the signs (with Te Reo on top) I, being one of the 97% of New Zealanders that do not speak Te Reo, was initially confused and then had to look twice to figure out there were word below in English.

If I was driving along I would not have time to process this.

Add in tourists from overseas not having any idea as well.

A total safety issue! PLUS a low priority use of taxpayers’ money.

Communication is the key and this ideological addition of a policy to normalise Te Reo is outside NZ Transport Agency’s job description.

Another example of this normalisation of Te Reo was the replacement of a sign on a Gisborne beach that warned about the danger of playing on the logs/slash that was on the beach and in the water. Two children were injured, one fatally and they were visitors to Gisborne.

The signs in place after these tragic events were initially in English and have since been replaced with one in Te Reo only. My mother walks the beach regularly and told me about this — so the source is 100% credible.

Motorists need to be able to read signs quickly — even at 50 km/h you’re travelling at 14 metres per second, there isn’t time to read a lot of words, particularly when the ones at the top are in an unfamilar language. —Eds