The largest fire appliance in Nelson emblazoned with te reo Māori is making a bold statement and has created some healthy conversations around the use of te reo.  The words ‘ahi’ and ‘Whakatū’ sit alongside their English equivalent ‘fire’ and ‘Nelson’ on the fire appliance.

The largest fire appliance in Nelson emblazoned with te reo Māori is making a bold statement and has created some healthy conversations around the use of te reo.  The words ‘ahi’ and ‘Whakatū’ sit alongside their English equivalent ‘fire’ and ‘Nelson’ on the fire appliance.

The crew are proud of the new look for their appliance and are looking forward to having a second appliance with bilingual signage arriving shortly. Changes are also happening in the workplace too – people are starting to greet each other using te reo and are encouraged to use simple te reo phrases as part of their everyday conversations.

In the Area plans are in progress with local iwi to help provide some coaching and training in te reo for all Fire and Emergency people, starting with the Nelson station crew and then rolling it out  progressively.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to work alongside Māori and iwi not only by promoting te reo on our fire trucks and in the community but involving them at our top table, says Grant Haywood the Fire and Emergency Area Manager for Tasman Marlborough. 

“Iwi and Māori are important partners in our communities and significant land and forest owners who are facing increasing risk from vegetation fires and other emergencies arising from climate change. Māori are disproportionately represented by unwanted fires and this needs to change. Together we can create a safer environment not just for Māori, but for all New Zealanders.”

Grant says he can’t emphasise enough that they are taking their responsibility and commitment to local iwi seriously and he’s pleased the bilingual signage on the appliance has prompted a lot of conversations in the community.

“We want to build upon the successful working relationships we developed with iwi during the Pigeon Valley fires earlier this year. And as part of this, it’s important to make sure all our people have a better understanding of and familiarity with te reo and tikanga to help us all play a part better supporting our community.”

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