Pub­lic trans­port’s te reo fu­ture

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JAMES PASLEY

Auck­land Trans­port (AT) is be­ing called on to make its buses, fer­ries and trains bilin­gual with te reo Maori signs.

In­de­pen­dent Maori Statu­tory Board (IMSB) chair­man David Taipari said AT should fast track its im­ple­men­ta­tion of te reo Maori sig­nage on pub­lic trans­port and to set a date for it to be fully bilin­gual.

IMSB, which was formed by Auck­land Coun­cil in 2010 to pro­mote Maori is­sues in Auck­land, had been ad­vo­cat­ing for bilin­gual sig­nage since 2011.

At an Auck­land Coun­cil meet­ing last week Taipari said he was con­cerned bilin­gual sig­nage had been pushed back and, while AT had agreed to de­velop a te reo frame­work, noth­ing fur­ther had been done.

‘‘Bilin­gual sig­nage is a demon­stra­tion of re­spect in re­gards to Maori cul­ture,’’ Taipari said.

‘‘This is a miss­ing piece of in­fra­struc­ture needed to sup­port the growth of Maori tourism and en­ter­tain­ment.’’

A New Zealand In­sti­tute of Eco­nomic Re­search re­port done for IMSB es­ti­mated the in­ter­na­tional tourism value of a vis­i­ble Maori iden­tity in Auck­land would be more than $600 mil­lion per year, he said.

Bilin­gual sig­nage on pub­lic trans­port had been used over­seas in Ire­land, Spain, South Africa and Wales, Taipari said.

Gal­way in Ire­land used its Gaelic lan­guage as a mar­ket­ing tool to pro­mote the city as a Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture, Taipari said.

Pro­fes­sor Ta­nia Ka’ai, di­rec­tor of Te Ipukarea, the Na­tional Maori Lan­guage In­sti­tute at AUT Univer­sity, said it was a strong ini­tia­tive that would nor­malise te reo Maori in Auck­land.

‘‘It will demon­strate to te reo Maori lan­guage learn­ers that there are places in the com­mu­nity where the Maori lan­guage can be seen and heard,’’ Ka’ai said.

Otaki was the first New Zealand town to be­come bilin­gual, Ro­torua was the first city to be­come bilin­gual, so putting te reo on buses and trains would send a strong sig­nal that Auck­land was a city that re­spected Maori, Ka’ai said.

AT spokesper­son James Ire­land said it was in the early stages of de­vel­op­ing a pro­gramme to look at bilin­gual sig­nage.

There were no de­tails of what the sig­nage would con­sist of yet, Ire­land said.

A plan would go to AT’s board in Septem­ber.

SI­MON MAUDE/STUFF

AT is be­ing called on to fast track its im­ple­men­ta­tion of te reo Maori sig­nage on pub­lic trans­port.

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