Māori Legal Archive : Reasons to be cheerful
There are a whole bunch of reasons to celebrate the launch of the Legal Māori Archive. First, it offers Māori speaking legal scholars access to some hitherto hard to find legal sources. Second, it illustrates some real collaboration between the parties involved. Third. it adds to the weft of what I like to think of as the 'real web - i.e first class learning and cultural sources with open access to all. Lastly, and definitely for me, , it is just plain fascinating to be able to go and look, and learn from inside these sources.
The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
The archive is hosted by the NZTE, The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, and consists of a collection of more than 14,000 pages of around 250 19th century documents which illustrate the bi-lingual nature of New Zealand's legal history. It can be sourced, here
Purposes - enabling te reo legal Maori vocabularies et al
As well as providing open access to these significant primary texts, the project also helps speakers of te reo Māori who participate in and contribute to a shared vocabulary to describe Western legal concepts.
Also, in time the project will collate, develop and make available the terminology from Legal Māori texts, including those from the Legal Māori Archive, to all speakers and learners of te reo Māori and all researchers .
Among the sources quoted on the NZETC page are:
- "He reo ture nō te taha Kāwana / language of the Crown. These documents include speeches of Māori members of Parliament (Ngā Kōrero Paramete), circular letters and proclamations, and the Native Affairs Committee reports (Reports of the Native Affairs Committee). Also included are a few individual treatises by high profile Pākehā authors (usually Crown-commissioned) to familiarise Māori with certain Western legal concepts. The documents of this category are mainly Crown generated, insofar as they were recorded, translated, commissioned or facilitated by the Crown and often distributed to Māori communities.
- He reo ture nō ngā iwi Māori whānui / Māori community generated language. These documents include many petitions, circular letters, letters to the Governor etc, evidence submitted by Māori to various commissions of inquiry and tribunals.
- He reo ture nō te Whare Paremata / Statutory language. These documents contain the many Māori language translations of Acts and Bills circulated among Māori communities by the Crown. Some acts appear separately (such as Ko Te Ture Mo Nga Whenua Maori, 1862), and some in compendiums (such as Bills and Acts in Maori 1880)
- He reo nō ngā whakaritenga me ngā pukapuka here / Language of agreement and obligation. These documents contain the many land deeds (for example, those set out in the Turton's Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand: Volume One). Also included are official documents related to native affairs and land purchasing (for example, Mackay's A compendium of official documents relative to native affairs in the South Island, Volume One).
- He reo ture nō ngā Kōti me ngā Taraipiunara / Court and tribunal language.Charges Against William Williams) and tribunals, and Royal Commissions (for example, Report on causes of discontent among Māori in Taranaki).
These documents include language generated by the courts (for example,
- He reo nō ngā rōpū whakahaere tikanga / The language of Māori governing bodies. These documents include language generated by Māori dominated organisations that share many of the same characteristics as other legal fora. Included are documents from Anglican Synod proceedings (for example, Nga Mahi A Te Hinota Tuatahi o Te Pihopatanga o Waiapu. I Whakaminea Ki Waerengaahika Turanga. I Tihema 1861) and Kōtahitanga Parliamentary proceedings (for example, Proceedings of the Third Kotahitanga Parliament, April to May 1894). "
quoted texts and hyperlinks sourced from NZETC, here
Mamari Stephens VUW School of Law
The Archive has been created in conjunction with Mamari Stephens from the Victoria University of Wellington's School of Law as part of a project to establish a corpus of legal Māori documents, which will allow the analysis of the language and eventually a dictionary of legal Māori terms and concepts.
The Legal Māori Archive is funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology's Te Tipu o te Wānanga Fund and the Victoria University of Wellington Library's Contestable Fund.
The Alexander Turnbull Library, the National Library, the Victoria University of Wellington Library J.C. Beaglehole Room, the University of Otago Library Hocken Collections, the John Kinder Theological Library of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia and the Parliamentary Library who provided source materials; and the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre who provided staff time and technical expertise.
There is a reference group a comprising academics, experts in te reo Māori, linguists and judges.
Congratulations to all concerned!