Launch of new Māori resource

Māori Language Week is being marked by Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law with the launch of a new bilingual tool unlike anything else produced in New Zealand.

A student looking at the Legal Maori resource website

The Legal Māori Resource Hub allows online users such as practitioners, translators, scholars, researchers and other interested people from any discipline, to browse contemporary and historical Māori language texts, look up word meanings, and test new or old Māori words against an enormous document bank.

All of these functions are made available on a user-friendly interface.

The Hub is home to three main resources: 
  • an online version of He Papakupu Reo Ture—a Dictionary of Māori Legal Terms
  • the legal Māori corpus comprising thousands of pages of Māori language text dating as far back as the 1830s 
  • a corpus browser which allows the user to conduct in-depth and tailored searches of the corpus texts
With these resources the Hub lets anyone explore the specific use of thousands of Māori terms in their historical context within thousands of pages of selectable and browsable texts.

This kind of coordinated and comprehensive search tool has not been publicly and easily available in New Zealand before.

The Hub is the latest output of Te Kaupapa Reo-a-Ture (the Legal Māori Project), released in association with the New Zealand Law Foundation, Victoria’s Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) and staff and students at Victoria’s Faculty of Law.

Māmari Stephens, one of the co-leaders of the Project (nō Te Rarawa me Ngāti Pākehā), says: “It is a great feeling to finally be able to make these resources available free to the public, and we hope the Hub can spark ideas for other language initiatives, not only for New Zealand, but beyond.”