Indigenous | Reo

Reo Māori street signs in Marlborough fixed after three years

Three years after iwi requests to correct spelling on reo Māori street signs in Marlborough, all but a few have been completed, Rangitāne general manager Corey Hebberd says.

Although the first submission to correct the signage was in 2021, Hebberd says the initiative stems from their reo revitalisation strategy Tangata Rau, Reo Kotahi written in 2018 by reo exponent Jeremy Tātere MacLeod.

“From our perspective, that meant that all the key points on our map and streets needed to be spelled correctly. It sounds so simple but it just hasn’t been the case here in Marlborough.”

Hebberd says 20 signs in total were part of the submission, most of them having no tohutō or macrons. Some were misspelled altogether.

“Ōpaoa st for example was spelled Opawa and even Rangitāne was missing the macron, so that was the first to be corrected.”

The work, estimated to cost $9000, was covered by existing road maintenance budgets.

Hebberd says the corrections to street signs were only one aspect of their 32-year strategy. They have also recently completed a new community library and gallery in Blenheim.

“Te Kahu o Waipuna which is our new library and art gallery. So we gifted that name to the library. We worked closely with our council to have te reo first in the facility so all the signage in there is all in te reo.”