Corpus Browser

Use the Corpus Browser to make an advanced search of the Legal Māori Corpus.

Searching the browser

You need to set your filters in the Corpus Browser before you enter your search term. Select as many or as few as you want from the drop down menus, then hit ‘browse’. You'll enter your search term later.

The six filters are explained below.

Documents filter

The drop-down menu for this filter lets you to select different kinds of documents within the Legal Māori Corpus.

These documents are what may be termed ‘legal Māori’ documents. In other words, these documents describe, debate, use and critique imported Western legal ideas in the Māori language.

The types are listed alphabetically.

Source filter

This filter enables you to select particular source repositories that were used in collecting the corpus texts. For example, the first source you will see on the list is the Alexander Turnbull Library. This is where we gathered most of our pre-1909 documents, including land deeds and parliamentary materials.

Category filter

The corpus texts have been divided into six categories. This filter lets you choose between them. Those categories are:

Language of the Crown

The documents of this category were recorded, translated, commissioned or facilitated by the Crown and often targeted at Māori communities. These documents include items such as:

  • speeches of Māori members of Parliament (Ngā Kōrero Paramete)
  • circular letters and proclamations
  • reports from the Native Affairs Committee
  • material from websites explaining various laws in the Māori language.

Language generated by the Māori community

These documents include many petitions, circular letters, letters to the Governor and evidence submitted by Māori to various commissions of inquiry and tribunals (including submissions to the Foreshore and Seabed Bill of 2004).

Statutory language

These documents contain the many Māori language translations of Acts and Bills circulated in Māori communities by the Crown. Some acts appear separately (such as Ko Te Ture Mo Nga Whenua Maori, 1862) and others appear in compendiums (such as Bills and Acts in Maori 1880).

Language of agreement and obligation

These documents contain many land deeds. For example, those set out in Turton's Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand: Volume One.

Also included are official documents related to native affairs and land purchasing. For example, Mackay's A Compendium of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs in the South Island: Volume One.

This category also includes Māori language text of modern Treaty of Waitangi Settlements.

Court and tribunal language

These documents include language generated by the courts, tribunals and Royal Commissions.

Language of Māori governing bodies

These documents include language generated by Māori-dominated organisations that share many of the same characteristics as other legal fora. Documents from Anglican Synod proceedings and Kōtahitanga parliamentary proceedings are included.

Mode filter

This filter lets you to select texts according to how they were created. For example, if you want to identify texts that reflect oral use of te reo Māori, select ‘Māori transcript of spoken Māori’.

There are also texts that were originally written in Māori to be read (rather than heard). There are speeches from English language speakers that were translated into Māori and shared to be read by Māori people. Each language mode is slightly different.

After/Before filters

Use these two filters to choose documents between certain years, before a certain date or after a certain date.

Entering your search term

After you hit ‘browse’ you'll see a list of documents that match your filters. Use the checkboxes in the left column to select the documents you want to search.

Then enter your Māori word (or two-word phrase) into the search box at the top of the page and hit ‘go’.

Tip: you can see a summary of your results directly under the ‘documents’ heading. For example, “260,068 words in 75 documents spanning 1860 to 2009.”

Exploring your results

Use the ‘right collocate’ button to order your search term results alphabetically (by the word after your search term). Switch back to chronological order with the ‘date’ button.

You can also search for your word in the Legal Māori Dictionary with the ‘find in dictionary’ button.

Reading the source texts

Used the linked reference codes to start exploring the texts. Many are electronically available and you can access the original scans of some.

Sometimes the digital texts will contain odd symbols. These are left over from when the texts were digitised. They are gradually being updated, making them easier to read.

If you would like to see another version, most of these documents are also available through the Legal Māori Archive.

Some documents from the Waitangi Tribunal and the Māori Land Court are greyed out. These institutions have requested that the full text only be available through their offices. For Waitangi Tribunal enquiries, email You can contact the Māori Land Court through its website.