The kids of Takapūwāhia have one message for motorists – āta haere (slow down).
Their message adorns new traffic signs that have gone up in the village – the first bilingual road signs in Porirua.
“I’m really thrilled to see these bilingual signs going up in the city. Māori is an official language of New Zealand and making it more visible throughout our community acknowledges its mana,” says Mayor Mike Tana.
“Today is the start of Māori Language Week. It’s a chance for us all to celebrate the taonga that is te reo Māori and look at ways in which we can support revitalisation. This is just a small step, but many small steps result in real change.”
The traffic signs on Te Hiko St were developed in partnership with the Takapūwāhia community, students from Te Puna Mātauranga (an iwi-based learning support and education centre) and Porirua City Council.
“Ngāti Toa is our tangata whenua, and it was important to hear from local rangatahi about what these signs should say and how they should look,” says Mayor Tana.
Te Puna Mātauranga manager Bianca Elkington says her students loved being involved and are pleased with the result.
“We were looking for a project we could engage our students in and this was a great opportunity for them. The kids wanted a sign that reflected their community and it was important to them that te reo was first on the sign.”
They also looked for a background design that represented them – a family in front of the marae – because that is what this community is about, Mrs Elkington says.
The students involved in the project say they’d like to see more bilingual signs go up around the city.
“We don’t have many signs in Porirua that have Māori on them and there should be. It’s a reflection of our hapori (community),” says student Te Uatorikiriki Solomon.