|Maori Language Act 1987|
|New Zealand Parliament|
|Royal assent||20 July 1987|
|Maori Language Amendment Act 1991|
|Māori Language Act 2016|
The Māori Language Act 1987 was a piece of legislation passed by the Parliament of New Zealand te reo Māori), and gave speakers a right to use it in legal settings such as courts. It also established the Māori Language Commission, initially called Te Komihana Mo Te Reo Maori, to promote the language and provide advice on it. The law was enacted as the Maori Language Act 1987 and originally written without macrons.that gave official language status to the Māori language (
The 1987 act was repealed by section 48 of the Māori Language Act 2016, however there were no major changes from the provisions of the old legislation and the 2016 act merely updated the 1987 law with new provisions and language.
The act was the result of years of campaigning by Māori, particularly those involved in the Māori protest movement. It was also the result of shifts in thinking about the Treaty of Waitangi. By the mid-1980s, the treaty had acquired increased relevance thanks primarily to the Waitangi Tribunal. The act was passed at least in part as a response to Waitangi Tribunal finding that the Māori language was a taonga (treasure or valued possession) under the Treaty of Waitangi. The act also drew on a number of international precedents, primarily the Bord na Gaeilge Act 1978 of Ireland, which is cited several times in the legislation, but also the Welsh Language Act 1967 of the United Kingdom, which enabled the use of the Welsh language in Welsh court proceedings.
Despite the act, Māori does not have the same status under law as English. For example, tax records must be kept in English unless the Commissioner of Internal Revenue agrees otherwise.
The act was amended in 1991 and legislated the Māori Language Commission's name change to Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori. It also slightly expanded the range of legal settings in which Māori could be used, to include bodies such as the Tenancy Tribunal and any Commission of Inquiry.
The 1987 act was repealed on 30 April 2016 by section 48 of Te Ture mō Te Reo Māori 2016 / Māori Language Act 2016, which updated the law. As a New Zealand first, there are two versions of the new act, one in Māori and the other in English, with section 12 stating that if there was any conflict in meaning between the two versions, the Māori version would prevail.
The Treaty of Waitangi is a document of central importance to the history, to the political constitution of the state, and to the national mythos of New Zealand. It has played a major role in the treatment of the Māori population in New Zealand, by successive governments and the wider population, a role that has been especially prominent from the late 20th century. The treaty document is an agreement, not a treaty as recognised in international law and it has no independent legal status, being legally effective only to the extent it is recognised in various statutes. It was first signed on 6 February 1840 by Captain William Hobson as consul for the British Crown and by Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand.
Tino rangatiratanga is a Māori language term that translates literally to 'highest chieftainship' or 'unqualified chieftainship', but is also translated as "self-determination", "sovereignty" and "absolute sovereignty". The very translation of tino rangatiratanga is important to New Zealand politics, as it is used in the Māori version of the Treaty of Waitangi to express "full exclusive and undisturbed possession" over Māori-owned lands and property, but different translations have drastically different implications for the relationship between the 1840 signatories: the British Crown and the Māori chiefs (rangatira).
Taonga or taoka is a Māori-language word that refers to a treasured possession in Māori culture. It lacks a direct translation into English, making its use in the Treaty of Waitangi significant. The current definition differs from the historical one, noted by Hongi Hika as "property procured by the spear" [one could understand this as war booty or defended property] and is now interpreted to mean a wide range of both tangible and intangible possessions, especially items of historical cultural significance.
The Māori language revival is a movement to promote, reinforce and strengthen the use of te reo Māori, the Māori language. Primarily in New Zealand, but also in places with large numbers of expatriate New Zealanders, the movement aims to increase the use of Māori in the home, in education, government, and business. The movement is part of a broader revival of tikanga Māori in what has been called the Māori renaissance.
The Waitangi Tribunal is a New Zealand permanent commission of inquiry established under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. It is charged with investigating and making recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to actions or omissions of the Crown, in the period largely since 1840, that breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi. The Tribunal is not a court of law; therefore, the Tribunal's recommendations and findings are not binding on the Crown. They are sometimes not acted on, for instance in the foreshore and seabed dispute.
The New Zealand foreshore and seabed controversy is a debate in the politics of New Zealand. It concerns the ownership of the country's foreshore and seabed, with many Māori groups claiming that Māori have a rightful claim to title. These claims are based around historical possession and the Treaty of Waitangi. On 18 November 2004, the New Zealand Parliament passed a law which deems the title to be held by the Crown. This law, the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, was enacted on 24 November 2004. Some sections of the Act came into force on 17 January 2005. It was repealed and replaced by the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011.
Tikanga is a Māori concept incorporating practices and values from mātauranga Māori, Māori knowledge. Tikanga is translated into the English language with a wide range of meanings — culture, custom, ethic, etiquette, fashion, formality, lore, manner, meaning, mechanism, method, protocol, style, customary law.
The constitution of New Zealand is the sum of laws and principles that determine the political governance of New Zealand. Unlike many other nations, New Zealand has no single constitutional document. It is an uncodified constitution, sometimes referred to as an "unwritten constitution", although the New Zealand constitution is in fact an amalgamation of written and unwritten sources. The Constitution Act 1986 has a central role, alongside a collection of other statutes, orders in Council, letters patent, decisions of the courts, principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and unwritten traditions and conventions. There is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and law considered "constitutional law"; no law is accorded higher status. In most cases the New Zealand Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing acts of Parliament, and thus has the power to change or abolish elements of the constitution. There are some exceptions to this though – the Electoral Act 1993 requires certain provisions can only be amended following a referendum.
Claims and settlements under the Treaty of Waitangi have been a significant feature of New Zealand politics since the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and the Waitangi Tribunal that was established by that act to hear claims. Successive governments have increasingly provided formal legal and political opportunity for Māori to seek redress for what are seen as breaches by the Crown of guarantees set out in the Treaty of Waitangi. While it has resulted in putting to rest a number of significant longstanding grievances, the process has been subject to criticisms including those who believe that the redress is insufficient to compensate for Māori losses. The settlements are typically seen as part of a broader Māori Renaissance.
Ngā Tamatoa was a Māori activist group that operated throughout the 1970s to promote Māori rights, fight racial discrimination, and confront injustices perpetrated by the New Zealand Government, particularly violations of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 established the Waitangi Tribunal and gave the Treaty of Waitangi recognition in New Zealand law for the first time. The Tribunal was empowered to investigate possible breaches of the Treaty by the New Zealand government or any state-controlled body, occurring after 1975. It was also empowered to recommend, but not enforce, remedies.
The Māori protest movement is a broad indigenous-rights movement in New Zealand. While there were a range of conflicts between Māori and European immigrants prior to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, the signing provided a legal context for protesting, as the Treaty of Waitangi made New Zealand a British colony with British law and governance applying. The British authorities had drafted the Treaty with the intention of establishing a British Governor of New Zealand, recognising Māori ownership of their lands, forests and other possessions, and giving Māori the rights of British subjects. However, the Māori and English texts of the Treaty differ in meaning significantly; particularly in relation to the meaning of having and ceding sovereignty. These discrepancies, and the subsequent colonisation by Pākehā settlers led to disagreements in the decades following the signing, including full-out warfare.
Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 is a statute of the Parliament of New Zealand to "reform the laws relating to Māori land in accordance with the principles set out in the Preamble". These principles "reaffirm" the Treaty of Waitangi "relationship between the Māori people and the Crown" and "recognise that land is taonga tuku iho of special significance to Māori people". To that end, the principles "promote the retention of ... land in the hands of its owners, their whanau, and their hapu, and to protect wahi tapu". Further, they "facilitate the occupation, development, and utilisation of that land for the benefit of its owners, their whanau, and their hapu".
The law of New Zealand uses the English common law system, inherited from being a part of the British Empire.
The Māori Land Court is the specialist court of record in New Zealand that hears matters relating to Māori land.
The New Zealand Māori Council is a body representing and consulting the Māori people of New Zealand. The council is one of the oldest Māori representative groups. Recently, the council increased its focus on social challenges and issues that impact its constituents, with one example being the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now developing ideas and programs that reduce barriers faced by Maori.
The judiciary of New Zealand is responsible for the system of courts that interprets and applies the laws of New Zealand. It has four primary functions: to provide a mechanism for dispute resolution; to deliver authoritative rulings on the meaning and application of legislation; to develop case law; and to uphold the rule of law, personal liberty and human rights. The judiciary is supported in its work by an executive department, the Ministry of Justice.
The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, in New Zealand law and politics, are a set of principles derived from, and interpreting, the Treaty of Waitangi. They are partly an attempt to reconcile the different te reo Māori and English language versions of the Treaty, and allow the application of the Treaty to a contemporary context.
Huirangi Eruera Waikerepuru was a New Zealand Māori language activist and trade unionist of Taranaki and Ngāpuhi descent. He was active in the foundation and governance of Māori language radio and television.