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Maori Road Signs Will Not Be Translated

A plan for bilingual street signs in South Taranaki has been unanimously rejected by both the council and the district's iwi.


On Monday the South Taranaki District Council droped a Hawera community board proposal to give all Maori road signs an English translation.

Although the idea was heading in the right tendency, the scope of such a huge project made it unrealistic, said councillor Te Aroha Hohaia. She also said the proposed cost of $150 each was only for the sign itself and did not factor in the time and effort required to research the proper translation English names into Maori.

"This has the potential to further remove Maori identity from places. For Maori a lot of these names are significant to areas not just roads", said councillor Bonita Bigham.

Deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne said the idea could be the catalyzer for a larger and more publicly minded project because local history is very interesting and not available anywhere else outside the country.

The Maori is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, where it has the status of an official language. According to the Maori Language Commission the number of fluent adult speakers fell to about 10,000.


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tags: official language, local languages, New Zealand, project, translation, english, Maori




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