People in the Hauraki District may notice a few changes from this week - including the way they're greeted and some new signs in te reo Māori too.

"It's Māori language week and we're using this as an opportunity to start practising and growing our te reo," senior strategic slanner Katherine Quinn said.

"It's just baby steps, learning simple phrases or kupu, and trying to apply that to everything we do."

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Hauraki District Council was slowly making the changes - signs at Ohinemuri Park, Karangahake, Ngatea and Waihi were now bilingual.

Over time, there were plans for two languages to be extended to other council signs throughout the district.

Council workers' email signatures would be changed to include te reo job titles, and staff encouraged and supported to practice speaking te reo with each other and with customers where they could.

"It's a really good opportunity for us take a lead as a council to get out there and normalise it," Mayor John Tregidga said.

"Gone are the days of thinking whether it's appropriate or not to speak te reo."

The new signs cost $140 and Tregidga said the council wouldn't be rushing out to change all signs at once into reo Māori.

"The more we use it, the more we will become proficient at it and the more it will just run through the community," Tregidga said.

From this week, the council would start at the bottom of the learning curve.


"We ask our customers to please bear with us and support us in our efforts," chief executive Langley Cavers said.

"We may not always get our pronunciation or wording 100 per cent right but we expect this will improve with practice and encouragement. Whakawhetai koe mo to tautoko – thank you for your support."

Other changes included a karakia at the beginning and end of council meetings and the addition of reo name badges for customer services and library teams.

The libraries would add more te reo into existing programmes such as "Toddler Time".

"It's great to be able to put in those basic words like colours and parts of the body," Toddler TIme co-ordinator Karen Wickliffe said.

"Using te reo is really just a starter as I see it."

Mayor Tregidga encouraged his community to give te reo a go, and while there was much to learn about pronunciation, locals were full of praise for this forward thinking council.

"I think it's good thing, council investing in multicultural New Zealand and a multicultural Paeroa!" resident, Darby Tuhaka said.

"It's an investment that has longevity, as well as an investment that is politically correct."

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