He Pātaka Kupu Ture / Legal Māori Archive
Nei rā te mihi maioha ki a koutou ngā iwi karangamaha, ngā toki pūkenga o ngā pito o te motu, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa
He Pātaka Kupu Ture / The Legal Māori Archive is an unprecedented collection of full text documents that presents, in one accessible place, the bilingual nature of New Zealand’s legal history which has to date been largely overlooked. These documents are all testament to the strong engagement between 19th century Māori and the legal system developed by and imposed by the colonial governments of that time.
All these documents are what may be termed legal Māori documents. In other words these documents describe, debate, use and critique imported Western legal ideas in the Māori language. All of these documents were designed to be circulated and read by many; all of these documents were printed, rather than handwritten. Many of these documents also include substantial English language components which have also been digitised in the interests of completeness. The Legal Māori Archive has grouped these documents into six categories that give a useful insight into the nature of the engagement between Māori and the 19th century New Zealand legal system:
- 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. These documents include language generated by the courts (for example, Charges Against William Williams) and tribunals, and Royal Commissions (for example, Report on causes of discontent among Māori in Taranaki).
- 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).
The material here will be of great interest to scholars of Māori language, New Zealand history and New Zealand law and legal history. These texts also form much of the basis of a legal Māori dictionary that will be published by the Legal Māori Project, based at the Law Faculty of Victoria University, in 2011.
The Legal Māori Project seeks to resource speakers of te reo Māori who may not currently have access to a shared vocabulary to describe Western legal concepts. This 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.
Where possible, the outputs from the Legal Māori Project have been made available in order to allow others to conduct further research.
Tai Ahu has written a discussion of the Legal Māori Archive in te Reo.
Documents in this collection have been sourced from around New Zealand. To find the library closest to you holding a physical copy of a particular document search for the document by title in the NZ Libraries' Catalogue.
This work would not have been possible without the help of a number of groups, including the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology's Te Tipu o te Wānanga Fund and the Victoria University of Wellington Library's Contestable Fund who provided funding; 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.
Nau mai…kuhu mai.