• Video: Hastings District Council stands by te reo on signs despite central government's new policy

Video: Hastings District Council stands by te reo on signs despite central government's new policy

The Hastings District Council will continue its programme of changing signs to include the te reo meaning of place names alongside the English version, despite the new National-led Government dialling back the use of Māori names for government departments.

When the National, ACT and New Zealand First coalition came into power late last year, part of the coalition agreement was that it would, by and large, revert to the English names of Government departments first. An example of this is Waka Kotahi, which now becomes the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi.

This is in contrast to the Hastings District Council which has replaced more than 20 large, blue, road direction signs across the city centre that have become faded and hard to read. It is taking the opportunity to include te reo Māori place names.

The use of te reo Māori translations along with the English words is an expression of Council’s Heretaunga Ararau Te Reo Māori Action Plan.

The council says that the plan was launched in 2020 to celebrate the language, with the aim of Hastings being a te reo Māori city by 2040.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says that the new Government’s policy on te reo will have no bearing on the Council’s programme.

“Nothing's going to change for us in Heretaunga.”

“My view is that in Heretaunga, we've been working with our Mana Whenua partnership now for 25 years, that I know of, with some really, really strong examples of having both Iwi and Mana Whenua at the table, and we've seen some great results.”

“And our wastewater treatment plant is one of those that was co-designed with our Mana Whenua partners and working with our Heretaunga Takato Noa joint Māori committee, and then also the introduction of our joint Māori committee at the wider standing committees at the table, and then finally our Takitimu Māori Ward.”

Hazlehurst says the council is proud of what it has achieved with its partnerships.

“Look, we were incredibly proud of that, and from that, road signs celebrating te reo Māori. We are locally led and strong partnership.”

“We make sure that all of our agendas talk about the Māori kaupapa and its importance. It comes down to what is most important for our people and making sure that everybody's at the table and celebrating the language.”