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New directional road signs to include te reo Māori

New Road Signs

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst with Takitimu Māori Ward councillors from left Ana Apatu, Kellie Jessup and Renata Nepe at the Downer depot in Hastings. Downer NZ has been contracted to install the signs.

Hastings District Council is set to replace more than 20 large, blue, road direction signs across the city centre that have become faded and hard to read, and at the same time will take the opportunity to include te reo Māori place names.

The main focus is on the CBD ring road (Maraekākaho Road/Pakowhai Road, St Aubyn Street, Hastings Street and Southampton Street). A couple of signs on the main roundabout into Havelock North will also be replaced.

The replacements will address the poor condition of the signs that have been affected by sun exposure over time.

The use of te reo Māori translations along with the English words is an expression of Council’s Heretaunga Ararau Te Reo Māori Action Plan.

The plan was launched in 2020 to celebrate the language, with the aim of Hastings being a te reo Māori city by 2040.

Initiatives such as the directional road signs were a start and council would continue exploring and adopting more te reo Māori place and space names around the district.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was important to recognise the status of te reo Māori as a taonga of iwi Māori and to celebrate and support the revitalisation of the language in Hastings.

“Being familiar with te reo Māori, along with mana whenua aspirations, values and cultural customs helps us to acknowledge our unique cultural heritage and identity, and build stronger, more equitable communities.”

The implementation of the Heretaunga Ararau Te Reo Māori Action Plan is guided by a memorandum of understanding with Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated.

Ngāti Kahungunu chair Bayden Barber welcomed the introduction of te reo Māori on the new signs.

“It’s very important for our Ngāti Kahungunu identity, our tikanga. They talk about place and our connections to that place and we are happy seeing that being recognised in this way.”

The new signs will not only be easier to read, they will provide consistency for wayfinding around the Hastings CBD.

It is likely the work will begin next week with the removal of berm-mounted signs first and the replacement of overhead signs and maintenance of existing gantries to follow.

The contractors will try to limit traffic disruption as much as possible and traffic management will be in place with detours where practicable.

While some work will be done after 6pm, for efficiency, contractors will need to undertake work during the day time as well.

19 May 2023

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