Newshub-Reid Research poll shows New Zealanders split on rolling out bilingual road signs

New Zealanders appear split when it comes to the rollout of bilingual road signs in both te reo Māori and English.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll has 48 percent in favour of it and 44 percent against.

But there's a clear political divide when you dig into the figures.

New Zealand's first bilingual road sign was unveiled on the outskirts of Temuka on May 5 in the year 2000. Our highest peak made the debut - 'Aoraki-Mount Cook'.

"It has been a long time coming," said Ngāi Tahu chairman Mark Soloman.

Twenty-three years later, Waka Kotahi is rolling out a new wave of bilingual signs with 'Kura-School' the latest.

More are likely to be next, with the Government making a decision by the end of the month.

"I think they reflect who we are as New Zealanders and I have no issue with it," said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

But many Kiwis do. The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll voters if they support the increasing use of Te Reo on road signs and 48.4 percent said yes, 44.7 percent said no - the rest didn't know.

Many of the 'no' voters came from National with nearly 58 percent of its supporters opposing bilingual signs - 67 percent of ACT supporters and 68 percent of New Zealand First voters saying a big 'no' as well.

But it's a yes from National leader Christopher Luxon, a fan of them.

"We support dual language here in New Zealand," he said.

Even if many of his voters don't.

Many of the supporters came from Labour, with 65 percent of its voters supporting the signs. And 78.6 percent of Green voters are keen, and 87.5 percent of Te Pati Māori supporters. Interestingly though, 8.3 percent of them didn't support bilingual signs.

"Every time we have these little progressions, these debates arise. We eventually get through them and we move forward," said 'Everyday Māori' Māori language educator Hemi Kelly.

Kelly is a passionate advocate and teacher of te reo Māori - he said bilingual signs will show the hundreds of thousands of Reo speakers their language is respected.

"Where else in the world are they going to have access to their language if they don't have access to it here, the country this language belongs to?" he said.

Bilingual signs are commonplace overseas - Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and soon, if the Government approves the next stage, more of this in Aotearoa.