Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Maori Legal Archive

The New Zealand Legal Text Centre had recently launched an on-line archive of documents relating to the legal history of the Maori, the indigenous people of the islands. Here is the announcement:
The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre is proud to announce the launch of the Legal Maori Archive, a collection of more than 14,000 pages of around 250 19th century documents that illustrate the bi-lingual nature of New Zealand's legal history. The Legal Maori Archive is freely available to the public and can be accessed via the NZETC website.

Among the many documents featured in this collection are the following:

The Proceedings of the Kotahitanga Parliaments

Henry Hanson Turton's Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

Maori translations of Acts and Bills circulated among Maori communities by the Crown

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 Maori documents, which will allow the analysis of the language and eventually a dictionary of legal Maori terms and concepts. It is the first time the documents have been brought together in one place and is the largest collection of separate documents that the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre has digitised. The Legal Maori Project seeks to resource speakers of te reo Maori 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 Maori texts, including those from the Legal Maori Archive, to all speakers and learners of te reo Maori and all researchers
Hat tip (and comment).

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