Monday, 8 June 2009

Māori Legal Archive

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:
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 funding
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.

Other support
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.

Reference Group
There is a reference group a comprising academics, experts in te reo Māori, linguists and judges.

Congratulations to all concerned!

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