Innovative posters in te reo Maori have been hailed as helping to drive home hygiene and tidiness messages to pupils at Rotorua's Selwyn School.

The colourful posters struck a chord with principal Peter Barker, who said staff would use them as a teaching aid and they would also be displayed prominently around the school.

The posters, designed and produced by commercial cleaning company CrestClean, have also gained the backing of the president of the Te Akatea New Zealand Maori Principals' Association as another way to validate te reo.

Mr Barker said it was often a real battle for schools to get good resources in te reo Maori.


"This is a resource we can use that our teachers aren't having to make or having to go and find."

He said he believed the humour in the posters would resonate with Selwyn's students.

"They are not something your grandmother would typically look at. They are pitched at 21st century kids, with the characterisation of the hat on backwards, pants around the bottom of the backside, these images are in keeping with kids of today."

Mr Barker has plans to use the posters as a focal point for the school assembly as they contained important learning messages.

The school had 83 per cent Maori on its roll and having an extra resource in Maori was invaluable, he added.

"We have a commitment to all things Maori, particularly signage with both languages."

The te reo posters were the brainchild of CrestClean's chairman of directors, Marty Perkinson, whose close association with Te Tira Hou Marae, in Panmure, Auckland, spans 45 years.

When Mr Perkinson was asked to give a presentation at the Te Akatea Maori Principals' Association Conference he was asked why Crest's already popular school posters were only in English.


"Someone raised the issue of why we didn't have the posters in the Maori language. I took this up as a challenge."

He is delighted the posters are helping to push home a message encouraging respect.

"The posters are good in English and they are just as good in the Maori language. They all have messages. It makes people proud of their school."

Hoana Pearson, Te Akatea New Zealand Maori Principals' Association President, said the te reo posters were a great idea and would prove popular with schools.

"When you produce something of high quality that has te reo on it, it takes on a whole new meaning. It validates the language and says the language is worthy of beauty.

"For years, many of us in Maori education have been hand-drawing and photocopying our resources. To see things that are beautiful and produced in colour for our kids and our communities really validates the beauty of te reo and of them."