University of Hawaii System newsletter

Collection of Legal Texts in Māori Available

Posted on | August 20, 2010 | Comments Off on Collection of Legal Texts in Māori Available

people around a table

From left, Mary Boyce, Dulce Piacentini, Māmari Stephens and Tai Ahu.

A large collection of written legal texts in Māori was recently made available online. This is one of several key outputs of the Legal Māori Project, co-led by Mānoa Assistant Professor Mary Boyce, the Māori program coordinator and Māmari Stephens of the law faculty at Victoria University of Wellington. The project began in mid-2008. The project team is now working on the compilation of the Legal Māori Dictionary, due for completion in 2012.

Boyce spent her summer in Wellington, working with her colleagues there to complete the Legal Māori Corpus. It is comprised of 8 million words of running text compiled from legal texts printed in Māori from the earliest printed materials in the 19th century to the present day. On June 30, the pre-1910 text collection of 5.2 million words was publicly released for use by researchers and the public. This is the largest known publicly available corpus of Māori.

This collection is a rich source of information to a range of research projects, both linguistic and legal. The Legal Māori Project team is using the corpus as the basis for the dictionary, to guide which words, phrases and meanings to include in the dictionary.

Read the news release.