Ngā pātai - FAQs

What is a bilingual city?
Celebrates languages used in the community.

Bilingual Rotorua is an initiative being led by Te Tatau o Te Arawa with support from its partner, Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Puni Kōkiri.

The initiative will promote the use of te reo Māori and English.

Who is Te Tatau o Te Arawa?
The board is a partner to Rotorua Lakes Council, which is made up of 14 members, and represents the diverse voices of Te Arawa.  It aims to strengthen the relationship between Council and Te Arawa.

Where did the idea for Rotorua Reorua come from?
Former Māori Development Minister/ former Waiariki MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, advocated for the idea and in 2016 floated it with Rotorua Mayor, Steve Chadwick, who is supportive of the initiative.

Is Rotorua the country's first bilingual city?
Yes.  Rotorua made the commitment on August 11, 2017 at a ceremony at Rotorua Lakes Council.
Te Tatau o Te Arawa is leading the drive on behalf of the district with the support of Council and Te Puni Kōkiri.
Ōtaki and Wairoa have also shown an interest in becoming bilingual rohe/ areas. 

What does a bilingual city look like given Rotorua already has Māori signage across the district?
The initiative is about adding value to our community rather than seeing more te reo Māori across town.

It's about helping people learn about the history and culture, and empowering members of the community to look at how they can support a bilingual city/ district.

A business case into a bilingual Rotorua is being led by Te Tatau o Te Arawa with support from Te Puni Kōkiri.

Bilingual Rotorua ideas that have been considered:

  • Increasing the stories behind street signs and how technology can help tell these stories
  • Encouraging local businesses to use more te reo Māori and in their menus
  • The community including businesses is being encouraged to:
    • Make it a conscious habit to pronounce Māori words correctly
    • Learn a new word each day
    • Make it a habit to say Māori greetings such as kia ora and tēnā koe all the time
    • Start learning about the meaning and the stories behind place names such as Tūtanekai

Why is Te Tatau o Te Arawa leading the initiative?
Te Tatau o Te Arawa made it clear in its annual plan submission to Rotorua Lakes Council this year that developing a bilingual city is a top priority for the organisation.

Council supports its proposal to develop a bilingual city and district.

How has Council supported the bilingual Rotorua initiative?
Council has supported Te Tatau o Te Arawa's proposal and adopted the following recommendations as a result of the July Council meeting:

  • That the report 'Bilingual Rotorua' be received
  • That Council support the proposal for Rotorua to become New Zealand's first bilingual city and that the Chief Executive be authorised to explore options for support with Te Tatau o Te Arawa and other key stakeholders 
  • That Council note Te Tatau o Te Arawa's support for this proposal and its  intention to lead this project, and that a subsequent report will detail a programme of work and associated costs and funding streams

Council is supportive of the kaupapa (initiative) and is looking at how it can incorporate more te reo Māori in its day to day business as well as how it can promote the language. 

Why is Council supporting this kaupapa/ initiative?
The development of a bilingual Rotorua aligns with Council's long term vision given consultation feedback on its Vision 2030 refresh discussion document identified 'strong culture' as a key strand.  Council is committed to developing as a bicultural organisation.

What support is available to help Rotorua become the country's first bilingual city?
Te Tatau o Te Arawa with help from Te Puni Kōkiri will develop a business case in which to create a bilingual city/ district.  It will also look at adopting principals from research in to developing Māori-English bilingual signage.

Meanwhile, Rotorua Lakes Council has offered its support and is currently exploring ways in which it can support the initiative.

Some initiatives it is looking at developing is sharing more community stories about te reo Māori as well as sharing resources which can help the community on their language journey.

Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) holds a wealth of resources to help people on their language journey. 

 An all-round good read - This little gem provides you with the words to our national anthem, useful words for the sport nut and some general phrases to spice up your life.

Need help saying words? You can get some audio tips to help with your pronunciation.

You can also enlist the services of a registered translator or interpreter by searching the national register for a local expert

Other useful online resources include:

Signage List - Have you ever wondered what the Māori word is for fire extinguisher, emergency exit or an ATM? Take a look at this list of words, which you may be able to use in your department.

 You can also look up Māori or English words using the Māori dictionary

How much is Bilingual Rotorua costing?
The cost of projects like this are intangible and are likely to be spread across both private and public organisations.  In some cases, costs will be incorporated into 'business as usual' spending.  For example, new signs that might have previously been in English only - could be in te reo Māori and English.

Where will the unveiled plaque recognising Rotorua's commitment go?
It's temporarily being housed at Rotorua Lakes Council, while discussions about a permanent home continue.

Page reviewed: 07 Dec 2017 3:19pm