Te Tiriti o Waitangi - Treaty of Waitangi
On 6 February 1840, an agreement between the British Crown and Māori, known as The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by representatives of the Crown and Māori chiefs and became New Zealand's founding document.
Māori believed the Crown had a responsibility under the Treaty to ensure the survival of Māori Language. In 1985 the Waitangi Tribunal gave consideration to the Te Reo Māori Claim (Wai 11) lodged by Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo (The Māori Language Board of Wellington) which sought recognition of the Māori language as an official language of New Zealand, and for all purposes.
The Waitangi Tribunal report of 1986 acknowledged Māori language as a 'taonga' under Article II of the Treaty and that the Crown therefore has a responsibility for its preservation.
As a result of the Treaty claim, the Māori Language Act 1987 was passed:
- declaring Māori language to be an official language of New Zealand;
- conferring the right to speak Māori in certain legal proceedings; and
- establishing the Māori Language Commission.
In addition, the claim made recommendations in terms of education, broadcasting and State Services. As a result of these recommendations, a number of initiatives have been implemented which have seen the growth of Māori language schools and tertiary educational institutions, the establishment of iwi radio stations, and the introduction of Māori television.
- History: A brief history of Māori language.
- Written Māori: Information about written Māori
- Protocols: A guide to Māori protocols