Te Mātāwai and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency today unveiled one of the first bilingual kura/school traffic signs in Napier

Media release

The Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices (Kura/School Signs) Amendment 2022, which specifies requirements for ‘school’ signs that can be used on roads, now requires bilingual sign supplements for new school signs. 

Speaking at the launch in Ahuriri Napier, Dr. Jeremy Tātere MacLeod Local Te Mātāwai board representative and Director at Ngāti kahungunu iwi incorporated shared “Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated salutes the efforts being undertaken to normalise te reo Māori again within our tribal region. We are a tribe who suffered major language losses and initiatives such as these go a long way to reinstating te reo Māori within the district”.

Te Mātāwai Board Co-Chair Reikura Kahi added: “This Kaupapa represents a positive contribution to the Crown and Māori shared vision, kia mauriora te reo. To share and celebrate Māori as a first language. We see this as a critical step to expand the spaces where people feel empowered to use the Māori language in their communities. 

Waka Kotahi Director of Land Transport Kane Patena says, “this small but important step represents a significant opportunity to increase Aotearoa whānui engagement with te reo Māori through traffic signs.The introduction of the new rule is part of the He Tohu Huarahi Māori bilingual traffic signs programme led by Te Mātāwai and Waka Kotahi which will see more bilingual signs enabled using a phased approach.

The He Tohu Huarahi Māori programme is supported by a multi-disciplinary team from both organisations and an expert panel of te reo Māori translators from across the motu. Te Mātāwai was established in 2016 by Te Ture o te reo Māori (Māori Language Act) and works in partnership with the Crown for Māori language revitalisation.

“The Waka Kotahi vision of contributing to having te reo Māori seen heard and spoken is aligned with Te Mātāwai,” says Mr Patena.

The amended rule shows the word kura in bolder font above the word school to differentiate te reo Māori and English on new school traffic signs. 

The Kura/School signs will be used by Road Controlling Authorities when existing signs need to be replaced or new signs are introduced. Existing English-only school signs remain legal traffic signs until they are replaced.

The programme also has support from Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport and input from Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori Language Commission.
Bilingual signs have been used on the network for some time, but the rule change will help with more consistent and safe use across Aotearoa New Zealand.

A selection of other traffic signs is expected to be released for public consultation later this year.


More information about the He Tohu Huarahi Māori bilingual traffic signs programme.
Technical specifications and images for the Kura/School signs are now available on the Waka Kotahi website.