Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


The Legal Māori Project: Te Reo Deal

28 May 2008
The Legal Māori Project: Te Reo Deal

A senior lecturer in law at Victoria University has attracted funding worth $673,000 for a research project that aims to produce New Zealand’s first Legal Māori dictionary.

Māmari Stephens has received a $5,000 New Researcher’s Fund grant, $20,000 from the University Research Fund, $55,000 from the Contestable Fund and $593,000 from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology – the first time a project from the Law School has been funded by the Foundation.

“We have a bilingual legal past – at least until the late 1800s – but much of it is hidden in the Alexander Turnbull Library,” says Stephens. “Early Acts of Parliament and many other legal documents were translated into Māori – mainly because Māori became a written language very early on."

The first stage of the research is gathering and accessing any texts in Māori from the 19 th , 20 th and 21 st centuries about any legal topic. The task is then to analyse the frequency of terms and most frequently used words, which form the basis of a lexicon from which the dictionary is written.

The second stage involves seeing where gaps exist and what new terms might need to be made. A steering group which includes Māori language experts, legal academics and members of the judiciary has been formed to inform this process and develop principles for the adoption of new terms.

A third stage is the compilation of the dictionary and putting it together in a useable form. “The aim of the project is to have work that is user friendly and helpful to those working in areas involving Māori language. This is an ever increasing sphere – the Māori Affairs Select Committee, for example, now have their reports in Māori as well as English,” says Stephens.

“It is my sincere wish that this project results in a key resource that not only allows us to understand our bilingual legal history, but provide a frame of reference for the future."


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

    Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news