[lg policy] Maori food trucks and English-free signs suggested for Wellington to be Te Reo capital

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu May 3 10:33:27 EDT 2018

 Maori food trucks and English-free signs suggested for Wellington to be Te
Reo capital
3 May, 2018 2:11pm
3 minutes to read
[image: Te reo toilet. Photo / Peter de Graaf]
Te reo toilet. Photo / Peter de Graaf
By: Melissa Nightingale
NZ Herald reporter based in Wellington
melissa.nightingale at nzherald.co.nz @melissa_wishart

Removing English words from signage where possible and getting Maori food
trucks out on the streets are some of the ideas raised for making
Wellington the Te Reo capital of New Zealand.

Wellington City Council is working to raise the status and use of the
language through its draft Te Reo Maori policy, Te Tauihu.

At a City Strategy Committee meeting this morning, submitters expressed
their support for the policy and shared ideas on how to bring Te Reo into
wider use in the city.

Teri O'Neill from the youth council said public facilities such as toilets
could have Te Reo in their signage, and where possible the English word
should be removed and replaced with an icon.
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She said the youth council also wanted to see community areas in
Wellington, such as Civic Square, be renamed, and new streets to be given
Maori names unless there was a good reason for another name.

Chairman of the youth council Brad Olsen also said Maori food trucks would
be another good way to spread appreciation of the culture.

"This policy is badly needed," Olsen said in the meeting.

"There is a lot of support for this and a lot of support for how to get
this sort of policy working in a practical sense.

"I'm not a Te Reo speaker by any imagination. It's something I find quite
uncomfortable to say stuff that I simply don't know the proper
pronunciation of."

Providing opportunities to learn and normalising the use of the language
throughout the city would help with this, he said.

Chief executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori the Maori Language
Commission, Ngahiwi Apanui, said every New Zealander could regard the
language as theirs, and as "an integral part of our shared national

"This policy's also a cool example of New Zealand trying to do the right
thing," he said.

"Fifteen per cent of the population isn't going to achieve the
revitalisation of Te Reo Maori on our own. This policy is not about today
... it's actually about tomorrow. It's actually about our grandchildren,
our great grandchildren, and their children as well.

"I love Wellington, and this particular policy is a reason to love
Wellington even more."

Member of the public Natasha Kuka also spoke to councillors, saying she
began learning the language later in life.

"Through valuing and using language, we value the culture and identity of
the people," she said.

"I want my children to see Te Reo Maori being valued here. I want them to
have the option of speaking Maori or English as they navigate through this

Victoria University of Wellington lecturer Vincent Olsen-Reeder gave some
suggestions for the draft policy, saying it needed to focus not just on the
use of Te Reo within council, but also throughout the city.

"Everybody needs to see themselves in it."

He said the policy was "bold, assertive, and well-intended".

However there was "no clearly expressed goal". He suggested an example,
that Wellington be a bilingual city by 2025.

Olsen-Reeder said the policy should lay out a timeline for when goals
should be reached by.

"Make is really clear what is being achieved."

There could be an annual award for showing good use and raising the status
of Te Reo Maori in society, he said.

Council received 250 formal submissions on the policy as well as 263
postcard responses and a wide reach on social media.

Following today's oral submissions, council officers will report to the
committee with a summary of the key themes for priority action, and a final
draft policy.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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