• Philip Morton Maori Fence Flickr.com All Creative Commons (Philip Morton Maori Fence Flickr.com All Creative Commons)Source: Philip Morton Maori Fence Flickr.com All Creative Commons
A North island Kiwi town is attempting to become an officially bilingual town, with street and business signage changed.
NITV Staff Writer

3 May 2017 - 11:29 AM  UPDATED 3 May 2017 - 12:02 PM

The small town of Otaki, just north of New Zealand's capital Wellington, is aiming to be the first town in the country to officially hold bilingual status.

The plan is being backed by the Maori Party and the local council, and could see street and business signs printed in two languages, English and te reo,  as well as multi language invoices and receipts printed.

Mayor of Kapiti Coast District Council K Gurunathan told Stuff.co.nz that it supported the idea as a good way to embrace Maori culture and celebrate a point of difference for the town.

"From where we sit, I think it's a good opportunity. One only has to think of the expressway coming through, we need points of difference. We need to be unique," he said.


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Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said the town's high proportion of fluent Maori speakers made it the ideal candidate.

"Fifty percent of all Maori in Otaki speak fluent te reo Maori so the aspiration of becoming a bilingual town is something Otaki can actually realise and I think that is exciting for the future of Aotearoa, one town that could realise what it is like to be bilingual," she told local Radio Waatea 603am last month.

Discussions about the bilingual status of the town are ongoing.

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