Te reo Māori handbook for the law to be launched

Authors believe te reo Māori can boost biculturalism in New Zealand’s legal system

Te reo Māori handbook for the law to be launched

The first practical handbook of te reo Māori for legal profession will be officially be launched on 25 October at the Ōrākei Marae in Auckland.

The book, Kia Kākano Rua te Ture: A te reo Māori Handbook for the Law, will equip legal practitioners, law students, government departments, and the judiciary with the tools they need to take a step towards a more equitable justice system, an aspiration of debut authors and te reo Māori advocates Alana Thomas and Corin Merrick.

“The words ‘kākano rua’, are used to describe biculturalism in te reo Māori. The name of this book, ‘Kia Kākano Rua te Ture,’ stems from our aspiration to see biculturalism in our legal system. We see te reo Māori as the waka which can take us to that destination,” Thomas said.

She said that normalising te reo Māori will not only benefit practitioners, but also benefit people around practitioners.

“Te reo Māori is not just a transfer of words, it is also a transfer of customs and traditions, and in turn the Māori worldview. The benefits, then, of learning te reo Māori extend far beyond just learning new words, and into alternative ways of thinking and problem solving,” Thomas said.

Merrick said that she is passionate about te reo Māori, her most treasured heirloom and therefore the first language of her children. She said that being a graduate of Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori, she is fortunate to have been brought up in an environment where te reo Māori and Māori education are valued.

“Over the past few years I have seen a number of my colleagues begin their te reo Māori journey and have been genuinely moved by the time and effort that they have put into learning. I have also seen a number of people announce their appearances in court in te reo Māori.  This has been incredibly exciting for me because I believe that there is a desire to come away from the mono-culturalism that has dominated the legal world,” Merrick said.

She said she believes normalising te reo Māori within the legal profession will benefit the legal profession, especially by opening the minds of practitioners to alternative ways of thinking.

“Learning te reo Māori will provide lawyers with new tools interpreting the law.  I also believe that the incorporation of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into our practices will have a positive impact on our clients, especially in the areas of law that I work in – Family Court and Youth Court,” she said.

JD Nodder, texts manager of LexisNexis New Zealand, said that it is a dream as a publisher to produce brilliant books that people want and need, including in the legal sector. She said both students and practitioners need to have access to quality and reliable content to succeed. Kia Kākano Rua te Ture is a book that everyone with ties to the legal industry should own and use, she said.

“Alana and Corin have created a book that is accessible and practical; a book that helps ease users into te reo and te ao Māori, to help them understand the importance of tikanga when working with Māori clients, and to improve their use of te reo Māori in written and verbal communication,” Nodder said. “There is a passion for te reo Māori in New Zealand and I hope that Kia Kākano Rua te Ture is one more way that more people can embrace and utilise reo Māori – not only in their legal professional lives, but in their everyday lives.”

The handbook has a practical focus on Māori language and protocol to be used in different professional and court settings, providing a foundation for readers to expand their skills, as well as promote Māori access to justice through wider understanding of te reo Māori and Māori issues. Its launch event begins at noon. 

Pre-orders are available by visiting  https://store.lexisnexis.co.nz/


Alana Thomas and Corin Merrick

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