Find out about the Legal Māori Resource Hub and how it was created.

The Legal Māori Project

The Legal Māori Resource Hub was created as part of the Legal Māori Project at Victoria University of Wellington. The project was carried out by a research team of lecturers, senior students and graduates in the Faculty of Law between 2008 and 2013.

The team published the first ever dictionary of legal Māori terms in 2013. The terms in the dictionary came from a corpus of texts the team had compiled.

With the Legal Māori Resource Hub, these resources have been made easy to search and available to all online.


Kōpututanga Tuhinga Reo Ture—Legal Māori Corpus

The Legal Maori Corpus is the largest structured corpus of Māori language texts. It is made up of eight million word tokens taken from law-related texts that date between 1828 and 2009.

The corpus presents an extraordinary account of the Māori language and how it has been used to describe, communicate and engage with Western legal concepts over nearly two centuries.

Tātari Tuhinga—Corpus Browser

The Corpus Browser lets you make an in-depth and specific search of the Legal Māori Corpus. The browser offers a variety of filters that you can use to tailor your search results to your area of interest.

He Papakupu Reo Ture—a Dictionary of Māori Legal Terms

This dictionary is the first of its kind. It is a comprehensive, if not exhaustive, dictionary of Māori legal terms and how they relate to Western legal concepts.

Customary Māori legal terms form the core of the dictionary, and the the influence and role of customary law in modern legal Māori language is profiled in a way that has has never been done in New Zealand. It may also be unprecedented among other legal lexicography projects for indigenous languages.

More about the project...

Reference resources

In addition to the funded research outputs the researchers of the Legal Māori Project have generated a significant number of peer reviewed articles, quality assured book chapters, online articles, conference presentations and other resources.

Research team

Many researchers and experts have been involved in the development of the resources profiled here over the past six years.

Other Māori legal resources

There are a range of other Māori legal resources available, these provide vital insights as to how Māori engage with the New Zealand legal system.

Funding and support

Victoria University of Wellington provided the initial funding for this research from the University Research Fund and Library Contestable Fund.

The resources were developed with funding from the science and innovation unit of the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (formerly the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology).

A grant from the New Zealand Law Foundation allowed these resources to be put online.


We, the research team, would love to hear from you about any of the resources on this site. If you have any suggestions, or terms you think we should know about, email patai@legalmaori.net.nz. We are keen to keep developing this site, so your feedback will be very important to us.