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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:

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.