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New Zealand’s legal history is bilingual. From the earliest missionary-led translations of the New Testament in the early nineteenth century, the Maori language has been used to communicate Western legal ideas. Nearly two centuries later there now exists a significant legal vocabulary in Maori that has much to teach scholars of law and language in New Zealand about the intersection between Maori and Pakeha legal thinking and expression.
This dictionary captures something of that unique intersection, drawing its entries and usage examples from the Legal Maori Corpus, a digitised collection of thousands of pages of legal and law-related texts in the Maori language dating from between 1828 and 2009.