Auckland Council signs on Council property could soon be in both English and Maori.
A draft recommendation, which also covers a number of other issues related to the use of Maori by Council, asks that the Maori term be placed first on signs where the names are side by side, or above the English name. The size, quality, legibility and prominence of the text are to be equal.
In considering the draft Maori Language Policy, Implementation Plan and Guidelines at its meeting last month, The Hibiscus & Bays Local Board said that it supports dual signs, but “only in appropriate locations and on a case by case basis”. Local board member Lisa Whyte was among the members who expressed a concern about the cost implications of dual signs and the local board asked for “a clear implementation plan, including a funding commitment from Council”.
The local board’s feedback also said that Council “should not assume relevance in every local board area as there are areas of Auckland where Maori language has limited recognition…” and that the plan “…must acknowledge Auckland’s diversity and that other languages are also prevalent”.
Member Gaye Harding said that signs in both languages would be a positive step and are just as needed in this area, where the Maori population is low, as in other parts of Auckland. “It’s a win/win situation,” she said. “Let’s walk the talk and celebrate our own country’s indigenous language – other languages could follow in time.”
Local board feedback will be incorporated into the final documents (including a draft implementation plan) to be put before the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee at its meeting this month for approval.