23 Feb 2015

Emergency vehicles get Māori makeover

8:03 pm on 23 February 2015

If you call 111 in Gisborne, you could get a response in two languages.

An ambulance with signage in Te Reo Māori.

An ambulance with signage in Te Reo Māori. Photo: Maori Language Commission / Facebook

All three emergency services in the city now have some vehicles with signage in Te Reo Māori, as well as English.

The Fire Service is trialling bilingual writing on its appliances, and there is now dual signage on a St John ambulance.

At a launch in Gisborne today, new signage was shown off for a waka tūroro (ambulance) and a waka patu ahi (fire appliance).

The police already have vehicles with safety messages in Māori emblazoned across them, and whakataukī - a proverb - provided by the late Ngāti Porou leader, Apirana Mahuika.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission, said it spearheaded the project to increase the visibility of Te Reo Māori on the streets and in the community.

The commission said under the proposed new Māori Language Strategy, government departments and agencies were being asked to support the revitalisation of Te Reo.

Spokesperson Wayne Ngata said along with bilingual signage provided by Gisborne District Council, examples had been set for other local authorities and government agencies to follow suit.