22 Jul 2014

Macron signals U-turn for Te Kuiti

6:59 am on 22 July 2014

People driving into Te Kūiti this week will be greeted with new road signs.

The King Country's local Māori radio station - Maniapoto FM, or MFM, has revamped the town's name by using a macron over the "u" in Te Kūiti.

A macron in Te Reo Māori is used to lengthen a vowel sound, which can also change the meaning.

Te Kuiti sign with macron

Photo: Maniapoto FM

The station admits that it is a huge step forward in what is generally a conservative farming community.

But MFM's Māori language guardian Te Aturangi Stewart says that mayor Brian Hanna and the Waitomo District Council totally support the move.

"Kātahi anō ka whakatinanahia e mātou mō Te Reo Irirangi o Maniapoto, me ētehi kaiāwhina ringa raupā i āwhina mai, i whakaae mai rānei i āmene mai ki ā mātou kia kawea ake tēnei kaupapa - arā te Kaunihera ō Waitomo tērā, me te koromatua a Brian Hanna - nāna anō i whakaae mai, i āwhina mai i tautoko mai i ā mātou kia mahia te mahi, nō reira e tika ana kia mihia rātou".

Mr Stewart says the idea isn't new for the station but it has only just been able to put into action thanks to the help of different organisations who have provided resources for free.

He says MFM is very thankful that Mr Hanna and the district councillors support the new signs.

Mr Stewart hopes that like Taupō, where the macron is used over the "o" on road signs along state highways, and the letter "h" is included in some signage for Whanganui, Te Kūiti with a macron over the "u" will also become a permanent fixture.

The plan further down the line is to bring back the full version of the town's name - Te Kūititanga, he says.