A Language for Buying Biscuits? Māori As a Civic Language in the Modern New Zealand Parliament

Australian Indigenous Law Review, Vol. 16, No. 1

Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 14/2012

19 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 5 Apr 2015

See all articles by Mamari Stephens

Mamari Stephens

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Phoebe Monk

Victoria University of Wellington; Ngāti Hikairo ki Kāwhia, Ngāti Maniapoto

Date Written: January 24, 2012

Abstract

The past two centuries have not only seen the critical endangerment of the Māori language as a language of private, personal communication; it has also seen the almost total obliteration of Māori as a language of the civic sphere – the realm of law, business, national politics and administration. Revitalisation attempts have focused attention on broadcasting, Māori medium education and home-based language development. However the Māori language has been a national civic language (and remains so in the Māori civic sphere) and must become so again if what Stephen May (2008) described as the legitimation and institutionalisation of the language is to be achieved – the two important steps that lead to genuine and lasting normalisation of the Māori language in all spheres of New Zealand life.. Some small steps in this direction have been achieved; Māori is now revealed by New Zealand Hansard as being to a significant but limited degree a legitimate and institutionalised language of Parliament. That development contains some important lessons for other revitalisation efforts.

Keywords: Maori, language, Hansard, New Zealand Parliament, Standing Orders, language rights, revitalisation

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Māmari and Monk, Phoebe, A Language for Buying Biscuits? Māori As a Civic Language in the Modern New Zealand Parliament (January 24, 2012). Australian Indigenous Law Review, Vol. 16, No. 1, Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 14/2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1991426

Māmari Stephens (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

Phoebe Monk

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

Ngāti Hikairo ki Kāwhia, Ngāti Maniapoto ( email )

New Zealand

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