The Hastings District Council is replacing 20 large blue road signs across the city centre and adding te reo Māori translations of their placenames.
These flash new signs will be found along the CBD ring roads, such as Maraekākaho Road/Pākōwhai Road, St Aubyn St, Hastings St and Southampton St.
A couple of signs on the main roundabout into Havelock North will also be replaced with new bilingual signs.
The replacements will address the poor condition of the signs that have been affected by sun exposure over time, and the use of te reo Māori translations along with the English words addresses a part of the HDC’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 the council would continue exploring and adopting more te reo Māori placenames 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,” Hazlehurst said.
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 welcomes 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,” Barber said.
The new signs will not only be easier to read, but they will also 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 daytime as well.