GISBORNE road users will get a taste of te reo Maori with new road safety billboards up to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori, Maori Language Week.
The signs are a reminder to stay safe on the roads and are a collaborative initiative between Tairawhiti Roads and Gisborne District Council.
There are two versions of the signs, te reo Maori and English, with the te reo signs already up around the district.
Tairawhiti road safety educator Di Akurangi says the council wants to raise awareness about the signs to help the community understand the meanings.
“The New Zealand Transport Association guidelines did not allow for bilingual signs, due to having too many words and elements that would distract drivers,” she said.
“As a result of the guidelines, we will have Maori signs that feature across the district over the next two months, substituted with the English versions for the same period of time.
“There are opportunities to further educate yourself about the signs — especially people who understand little te reo — by checking out our website and social media pages as well as advertisements in the paper.”
A video on The Gisborne Herald website launched today about the signs (see video below).
The video features tamariki from Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti, who read out the road safety messages that will feature on the billboards in te reo Maori, to help people to pronounce them correctly.
Mayor Meng Foon also features on the film clip with a brief message about how important it is for people to drive safely on the roads, as well as celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo — Maori Language Week.
The four road safety messages promoted relate to speed, drink- driving, seatbelt safety and driving with a mobile phone in hand.
The greater aim was for all road users to adhere to these messages, said Ms Akurangi.