The name attracts plenty of giggles and pilfering visitors, but Muff Rd is staying that way as a new plan is tried to deter souvenir collectors.

The rural road in the township of Orari, South Canterbury, has attracted worldwide media attention because of the crude definition some attach to the name, and the problem of people stealing the signs.

Resident Roger Payne said theft had been a problem for the past decade, and the road had been without any signs for two years.

He put forward a proposal to change the name, but this was opposed by people who share the Muff name with the farming family the road was named after.

The Timaru District Council decided to stick with the name and will soon put in place signs that are much larger than usual, and therefore harder to steal.

Council transport spokesman Andrew Dixon said two new aluminium signs, to be installed late this month or early February, would be 1.2m by 1.4m, mounted inside frames, and fixed "fairly high up".

They would incorporate other information such as distances to other destinations "so that the Muff Rd [title] is just part of a larger sign. The idea is that it won't be so attractive for people, or collectors." He said the council had tried other tactics before, but "where there's a will, there's a way".

Mr Payne had suggested Muff Rd revert to a previous name of Ohapi Rd to stop the thefts.

But 11-year-old Samantha Muff gathered more than 1000 signatures in a petition against any name change. Her father, Pete Muff, said she saw it as saving part of her heritage, given that the street name was unique in New Zealand.

Mr Muff remarked: "There's a lot of students there with a [road] sign hanging up over their bedposts, pointing down to the middle of the bed."