Te Aroha business people have erected their own brown signs on roads around the Waikato spa town to let motorists know they're a historic place worth visiting, even if the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) disagrees.
Members of the Te Aroha Business Association put up the signs overnight, after its efforts for over a year have failed to sway the NZTA to put up "appropriate signage".
"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," Te Aroha Business Association president Shaun O'Neill said on Friday.
About 20 signs, measuring a square metre and mocked up to look like brown tourism signs have been put up around the town pointing to its major points of interest.
Those include its thermal soda spa, the world's only thermal soda geyser, the new Hauraki Rail Trail and the climb up Mount Te Aroha.
Most signs, in a dig at NZTA, also indicated "bureaucratic nonsense" should be six feet under the signs themselves.
"Over the past year, NZTA's excuse for why they won't erect a sign keeps changing," Mr O'Neill said in a statement.
"First it was that our sign was too big, then it posed a safety issue, then they said we didn't meet historical town criteria - despite the Historic Places Trust supporting our application.
"They also said low tourist numbers entered their decision not to erect a sign... And, another excuse was that our proposed sign location is too far away from the town."
The association is seeking further support with an online petition (www.signupforasign.co.nz) and plans to lobby Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and Tourism Minister John Key.
NZTA's Waikato State highway manager Kaye Clark told NZ Newswire that signs at an intersection or roundabout were to advise or confirm a destination, while tourism signs were placed close to tourism facilities."The key reason behind this approach is to minimise the distraction to motorists who are making essential decisions while manoeuvring," she said.
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