A new Māori speed sign at the southern gateway into Rotorua was unveiled this morning, heralding the start of Māori Language Week.

The theme for this year's Te Wiki o te reo Māori is Kia Kaha te Reo Māori - Let the Māori Language be strong.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa chairman Te Taru White said the new Māori language sign epitomised the essence of the theme.

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"It makes sense ... our city's entrance ways to Rotorua reflect our culture and that in essence is both English and Māori. Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu.

"Although this unveiling of a single new Māori speed sign is a small gesture, its value is huge. It follows the path laid out by the Rotorua reorua movement and plans we have for the future but also strengthens our resolve to negotiate, plan and work with council and the NZ Transport Agency."

A small ceremony to mark the unveiling took place on Hemo Rd near the entrance way this morning.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick welcomed the occasion, saying it showed the district's commitment to Rotorua Reorua.

"We have a lot to do and this single speed sign marks a commitment to follow through and continue to make progress.

"This Māori speed sign sets a precedent although there is a similar sign in the Rotoiti community, Hemo Rd is the first main reo speed sign at a Rotorua entrance way, which we will need to build on."

NZTA Bay of Plenty transport system manager Rob Campbell said the sign showed what could happen when groups worked together.

"The transport agency respects and values the importance of te reo Māori as one of our country's official languages, and we are working with local councils to incorporate bilingual road signage while achieving safety outcomes.


"We are looking forward to continuing to work with the Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Tatau o Te Arawa on their plans to recognise te reo Māori in Rotorua."

A number of events have been organised by the community for Te Wiki o te reo Māori including a language expo, lectures and a parade.