The Legal Māori Archive

The Legal Māori Archive is available on the NZ Electronic Text Centre site.

The 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: