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Carterton District Council confirmed it will be embracing Te Reo Māori and working with Hurunui o Rangi Marae to implement bilingual signage throughout the district.

Te Reo Māori is the indigenous language of New Zealand and is recognised as an official language of our country.

Through Tiriti o Waitangi, the Carterton District Council is committed to actively supporting the national revitalisation of the Māori language through its activities, including supporting staff and elected representatives with learning Te Reo Māori.

By fulfilling these obligations, the council ensures Te Reo Māori is seen and heard around the district, as well as acknowledging its joint history and partnership with tangata whenua within the Carterton community.

Te Reo Māori holds a special place both in our nation and the Carterton community.

To acknowledge this, Carterton District Council’s Policy and Strategy committee voted yesterday in favour of implementing bilingual signage throughout the district.

The council plans to work with Hurunui o Rangi Marae to develop the layout, translation and design of the signage, as the foundation of Māori culture and identity is the Māori language, and Iwi Māori are the kaitiaki (guardian or trustee) of the Māori language.

Carterton District Council’s Policy and Strategy chairperson, Ruth Carter, said the bilingual signage was an important step forward in the valued partnership with Hurunui o Rangi Marae and the district’s cultural heritage.

“The new signs will be part of our continued journey with Hurunui o Rangi Marae and we will be working with them to get the right signage across the Carterton District.

“It’s not just about translating existing signs into Te Reo Māori but about recognising the cultural names within the district.”

The signage will also mean a consistent design scheme will be in place for all the signage across the district.

Carterton District has five road points of entry, all displaying ‘Welcome to Carterton’. These signs are high profile and are current need of repair or replacement, with some of the signs showing ageing and rust.

Some of the other signage in town is inconsistent with the district boundary signage.

“By implementing bilingual signage, it gives us the opportunity to get a consistent look throughout our district while acknowledging the importance of the town’s cultural heritage.”

The council will also consider potential future uses of the design, such as the idea of a walkway from Gladstone Reserve to Dakins Road, which has previously been supported by Hurunui o Rangi Marae.

These past discussions have spurred the idea of the potential placement of information boards alongside the walkway providing historical information which could be done in both languages.