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Signs of change on Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo campuses

Friday 17 June 2022 2:09pm

reomainTe reo Māori will be shown first on all new Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo signage and all new signs will also feature a font better suited to display the macrons over vowels in Māori words

Te reo Māori will be shown first on all new Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo signage from Auckland to Invercargill in a display of the University’s commitment to language equality.

The University’s Senior Leadership Team changed the guidelines for campus signage hierarchy in April on the back of a five-year-long collaboration between the Office of Māori Development (OMD), Marketing and Advisory Services (MAS), and the External Engagement (EE) and Campus Development (CD) divisions.

MAS Senior Manager, Shelley Winsor, says the change reflects a recent revision to best practice for signage hierarchy in Aotearoa New Zealand and will ensure te reo Māori remains visible and valued.

“In recent years we have seen best practice in New Zealand hierarchy flipped, with government guidelines available here

“In addition to best practice, we need to consider the University’s committed to Māori advancement as demonstrated by the Māori Strategic framework. Part of this commitment is to embrace te reo Māori.”

Existing signage shows English names first and uses a font considered inadequate to display macrons clearly.  Shelley says showing English names first doesn’t reflect the University’s commitment to Māori advancement, and signs across campus are inconsistent.

All new signs will also feature a font better suited to display the macrons over vowels in Māori words.

Acting OMD Director, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, says many new signs on southern campuses will use Kāi Tahu dialect, “which connects us further to local iwi and supports the revitalisation of Te reo Māori in Te Waipounamu”.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor EE, Professor Tony Ballantyne (FRSNZ), echoes their sentiments.

“It is important that we take language equality seriously to increase the visibility/quality of te reo Māori across all our campuses and to normalise its usage.”

CD Strategic Architect, Gordon Roy, says the look and feel of signage will remain the same in all other respects at present and the new guidelines apply to new signs only.

“We are going to be looking at the look and feel of our signage and brand over the next couple of years, which will ultimately result in an updated standard for signage generally.

That’s when we will roll out the wider change to all existing signage. As such we won’t be changing all of the existing signage just yet.”

CD design teams are already adopting the new guidelines for signage hierarchy in capital works projects.

Any requests for Māori translations can be made through the office of Māori Development website here.

- Kōrero by Rebecca Anderson, Communications Adviser (Projects)