Māori language bill tabled

6:07 pm on 26 February 2016

The Māori Language or Te Reo Māori Bill is being tabled back in Parliament today.

The bill will be enacted in both te reo Māori and English with the Māori language text prevailing over the English copy.

New Zealand Beehive; parliament

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

This is the first time in New Zealand's history a Māori language version of a statute will prevail over the English version.

The bill will have its second reading shortly and according to Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell, it introduces a new way of the Crown and Māori working together on te reo Māori revitalisation.

"It is ground-breaking, and I am incredibly humbled that I am the minister taking this dual language bill through its final stages in Parliament. It is fitting that the first law where te reo Māori prevails is the Māori Language Bill," Mr Flavell said.

"Māori has been an official language since 1987 but there are still many areas of our society where it is rarely seen or heard."

A team of language and legal experts worked on the translation of the bill to ensure the te reo Māori version aligned with the English version.

"It has been a new challenge for the Parliamentary Counsel Office, which is responsible for drafting and publishing New Zealand Government legislation, Te Puni Kōkiri and the translation team. I congratulate them on a job well done," Mr Flavell said.

View a revised copy of the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill [www.tpk.govt.nz here]