Court sittings introduce te reo

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2012

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New Zealand courts saw a historic change this week, with the inclusion of te reo Maori in opening and closing announcements.

From this week, opening, adjournment and closing announcements in all District, Family and Youth courts will be made in te reo Maori and English.

The District Courts Heads of Bench initiative was supported by the Justice Ministry.

Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue said the introduction of Maori language was a historic change in the District Court process.

“We wanted a practical way for District Courts to recognise te reo Maori as an official language of New Zealand."

The introduction was timed to coincide with Maori Language Week, which celebrates te reo Maori as a unique feature of New Zealand identity and encourages new ways of promoting the language. Te reo Maori is already spoken in the Maori Land Court, Waitangi Tribunal, Rangatahi Youth Court and Matariki Court.

“It will enhance proceedings and show appreciation for the cultural significance of the language in the court environment,” Judge Doogue said.

Justice Ministry District Courts general manager Tony Fisher said training was given to staff to familiarise themwith te reo phrases. “It's a great opportunity for staff to connect with New Zealand's cultural heritage.”

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