Residents of the Waikato community of Te Aroha woke up this morning to their town being blanketed by brown historical marker signs, which a team of business people affixed during the wee hours of the morning. The signs were erected as part of a tongue-in-cheek campaign led by the Te Aroha Business Association urging New Zealand Transport Agency to erect an historical marker sign pointing visitors to the town.
Business owners and residents of the Waikato’s historic spa town of Te Aroha are going head-to-head with New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) in a last-ditch effort to get the Government agency to erect appropriate signage for the historic spa town. The Te Aroha community wants to expand tourism in the town, with specific focus on: its thermal soda spa, the world’s only thermal soda geyser, the majestic Edwardian architecture in the historic Domain, the new Hauraki Rail Trail, the summit climb up Mount Te Aroha and its world-class mountain bike tracks.
Te Aroha Business Association President, Shaun O’Neill, says the town has been asking for appropriate signage for over a year and local businesses who are championing the request have reached the end of their tethers. In an effort to rally support from Te Aroha residents and the wider New Zealand community for their campaign to erect a sign, locals put up around 20, 1metre x1metre signs around town this morning which are mocked up to look like brown, tourism signs and point to all the town’s major points of interest.
“We’ve become so frustrated we decided to have a bit of fun at NZTA’s expense while, at the same time, rallying support from the wider community,” says Mr O’Neill.
The Te Aroha Business Association also put flyers in letterboxes this morning alerting 4000 locals to NZTA’s refusal to erect a sign, despite the town meeting all NZTA criteria for a TS-5 Major Tourist Attraction sign through NZTA’s Historic Town criteria. People are being asked to provide their signatures of support for erecting a sign at www.signupforasign.co.nz. Most businesses throughout town also have sign-up sheets people can sign in person.