New policy could resolve conflict

A new Dunedin City Council road-naming policy could resolve examples of contradictory spelling...
A new Dunedin City Council road-naming policy could resolve examples of contradictory spelling such as that found at Purakaunui, where the spelling of road signs and directional signs clash. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
An identity crisis of sorts in Dunedin could soon be resolved.

The Dunedin City Council is considering a new road-naming policy which would allow the use of alternative Maori spellings and macrons on council road signs, council land information team leader Rob Garrett said.

The move would bring the council's road signs into line with the New Zealand Geographic Board, which in 2007 issued a decision requiring the use of macrons and alternative spellings for locations with Maori names.

In Dunedin, it would resolve a conflict at Purakaunui where two signs - both placed on the same post by council staff - display different spellings and use of macrons for the same word.

The one using the old spelling was a council road sign, while the other using the new spelling and macrons was a direc-tional sign installed by council staff.

The council was required to comply with the geographic board ruling when it came to directional signs, Mr Garrett said.

It had also received a request from local Maori to change the spelling of Purakanui Rd on street signs in the area to Purakaunui Rd.

However, the council's existing "hodgepodge" of policies and procedures for road signs offered no guidance on the use of alternative spellings or macrons on its road signs, he said.

"Without any policy on it, we didn't know what to do with it."

Instead, a new draft road naming policy and guide-lines were presented to councillors at yesterday's infrastructure services committee, and approved for public consultation with minor changes.

The policy would be released for public consultation within weeks, and also outlined ways the council would consider street names within new subdivisions, as well as name changes and other issues.

The changes, if approved, would also affect Purakanui School Rd and Purakanui Station Rd, Mr Garrett said.

He was not sure if other changes could follow, but Purakaunui was only Dunedin locality with an official spelling using a macron, he said.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz