Bilingual signs

Kia ora Koutou katoa
Kei te mihi tenei ki a koutou

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Bilingual names are an important component of the cultural aspect of language. Place names, personal names and common names often fulfil the functions of transmitting history, traditions, events and values, and they do not necessarily require an in-depth knowledge of the language in order to be of use.

The power of bilingual names as a symbol of identity serves to reinforce the dual nature of our heritage and the two official languages in Aotearoa, New Zealand. This in turn embraces our desire to form partnerships and relationships with Tangata Whenua.

Key decisions relating to the bilingual concepts are:

  • All internal hanging signs will have a Māori translation. This will appear in a font size and style that gives it equal prominence but allow for the often big difference in the length of words.
  • Signs located in the Ngā Pounamu Māori Centre, plus any hanging sign which has a Māori name as the subject e.g. Ngāi Tahu Collection, will have the Māori word first with the English word below.

Haneta Pierce, Māori Services Librarian, November 2002