New electronic speed signs have been switched on at Kareponia, on State Highway 10, east of Awanui, in response to longstanding safety concerns.

The signs cover a 1.5km stretch of highway, which has the open road speed limit of 100km/h, displaying the message 'Your speed is ... /slow down', switching to 'Slow down' when a vehicle is travelling faster than 80km/h.

"We have listened to the concerns of the local community, including iwi leaders, and we're taking steps to improve safety on this stretch of highway," NZ Transport Agency's Northland system manager Jacqui Hori Hoult said.

And the signs were just the first step.


"We're also improving signage along the road and installing new school bus route signs where the route has changed," she said.

"There is a new yellow no overtaking line on the road up the hill. The transport agency and Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu have also provided high visibility vests to local children to wear to and from school.

"The local community has been calling for the speed limit to be reduced from 100km/h, and we'll certainly be looking at that, but there is a process to go through, and it takes time."

The speed signs were a temporary measure to improve safety until a speed management review between Awanui and Kaingaroa was completed. Public engagement would begin later in the year.

Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu chief executive Anahera Herbert-Graves said the NZTA's support for the tikanga of the hapū rangatira was a very good first step in the process.