New Zealand Law Society - Dual te reo Māori/English legislation recommended

Dual te reo Māori/English legislation recommended

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The Māori Affairs Committee has released its report on the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill, recommending that the bill be passed with amendments.

One of the proposed amendments would involve insertion of a complete Te Reo Māori translation of the English text.

The committee says this would make the bill the second complete dual-language bill in New Zealand in modern times.

A proposed new clause would assist with interpretation by providing that the Māori and English texts would be of equal authority and the Te Reo Māori text would prevail in the event of a conflict in meaning between the English and Te Reo Māori texts.

The bill seeks to repeal the Māori Language Act 1987. It would establish an independent entity, Te Mātāwai, to provide leadership on behalf of iwi and Māori regarding the health of the Māori language. Te Pūtahi Paoho would be disestablished and its functions transfered to Te Mātāwai.

The bill was referred to the Māori Affairs Committee of the 50th Parliament on 24 January 2014. Public submissions closed on 5 December 2014 and 41 were received.