Bilingual lollipop signs out on the roadworks

Drive slow . . . ata haere: Bilingual stop-slow signs can be seen at roadworks sites around the Gisborne district. Operational staff such as Downer site traffic management supervisor Grace Crichton are proud to use the te reo Maori and English signage. Picture by Liam Clayton

Green for go, red for stop.

It is a common code for traffic signals.

But green also means “ata haere”, or go slow.

Red can also mean “e tu”, or stop.

Downer has been using te reo Maori and English commands on bilingual stop-slow signs for traffic management.

The signs have been used at roadworks sites around the Gisborne district since December.

The bilingual signs project is a collaboration between Tairawhiti Roads and Downer.

Tairawhiti Roads is a shared business unit between Gisborne District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Downer Gisborne contract manager Sandie Farr said it has been a positive initiative for employees and the public.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from the public when our field team use our bilingual signs.

“People are really interested and it creates a good topic of conversation, plus it creates a sense of pride in our team when they can incorporate te reo and Maori culture in their work.

“Downer is very proud to be leading the way in this kaupapa (initiative).”

Tairawhiti Roads manager Dave Hadfield said they had nothing but positive feedback.

“Our operational teams are proud to grab the signs and it becomes a bit of a rush to see who gets them first.

“Others who have seen them while driving say how proud they are to see te reo out there.”

There are four sets of stop-slow signs, with more to be added for other council contractors over the coming year.

Other regions are now keen to follow suit, said Mr Hadfield.

Green for go, red for stop.

It is a common code for traffic signals.

But green also means “ata haere”, or go slow.

Red can also mean “e tu”, or stop.

Downer has been using te reo Maori and English commands on bilingual stop-slow signs for traffic management.

The signs have been used at roadworks sites around the Gisborne district since December.

The bilingual signs project is a collaboration between Tairawhiti Roads and Downer.

Tairawhiti Roads is a shared business unit between Gisborne District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Downer Gisborne contract manager Sandie Farr said it has been a positive initiative for employees and the public.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from the public when our field team use our bilingual signs.

“People are really interested and it creates a good topic of conversation, plus it creates a sense of pride in our team when they can incorporate te reo and Maori culture in their work.

“Downer is very proud to be leading the way in this kaupapa (initiative).”

Tairawhiti Roads manager Dave Hadfield said they had nothing but positive feedback.

“Our operational teams are proud to grab the signs and it becomes a bit of a rush to see who gets them first.

“Others who have seen them while driving say how proud they are to see te reo out there.”

There are four sets of stop-slow signs, with more to be added for other council contractors over the coming year.

Other regions are now keen to follow suit, said Mr Hadfield.

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