"To make Wellington a te reo Māori City!" This from Deputy Mayor Jill Day at today's Waitangi Festival on Wellington Waterfront where she announced to festival goers the council's draft te reo policy, Te Tauihu that aims to see more te reo Māori in the city.
Wellington - A city known for it's wind, the beehive, and perhaps soon, te reo Māori.
Deputy Mayor Jill Day says "When you drive through the city you'll see 'Welcome to Wellington'. It could be 'Nau mai ki Pōneke - Nau mai ki te Whanganui a Tara.'"
The draft policy honours a commitment made by Mayor Justin Lester during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori last year. Public submissions are now open to the public for creative input in how the council might approach signage and other forms of communication, including street art, murals and performing arts.
"We've already started." says Day.
"Today we are highlighting the name of our lagoon at Frank Kitts Park, Whairepo Lagoon. That's just one way we can show it making sure people are aware of the special names of places we have."
The initiative follows recent moves by district councils in the north island including Rotorua, who became New Zealand's first bilingual city in August of last year. Day says it's the responsibility also of the capital city to promote one of its national languages.
"We would like to see this across the whole of Aotearoa and it encourages the government to take the steps it needs to take as well, so we are all playing our part."