17 Feb 2017

Book translates Treaty of Waitangi into 30 different languages

8:28 pm on 17 February 2017

A new book translating the Treaty of Waitangi into 30 different languages has been welcomed by the Governor-General.

Treaty of Waitangi

Treaty of Waitangi Photo: RNZ / Aaron Smale

Both the English and Māori versions of the treaty have been published in a book by the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters.

The book - The Treaty Times Thirty - was presented to Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House tonight.

Dame Patsy said it was important for New Zealand's diverse communities to have the opportunity to learn how our nation was created.

"Ideally, new migrants to this country would be able to access the Treaty in their own language," she said.

See the full document here

NZ Society of Translators and Interpreters president Quintin Ridgeway said the book aimed to show the different ideas conveyed by the two Treaty texts.

"The translations themselves, they allow people who know those languages, whose mother tongue is those langauges, to be able to fully understand what the issues were in the translation, and what was really said in both versions of the Treaty of Waitangi."

Mr Ridgeway said the society had been working on the book for about a year, and it coincided with society's 30th anniversary in 2016.

Waitangi National Trust chief executive Greg McManus said it was progressive to give New Zealand's changing communities the chance to read the treaty.

"One of the things we've noticed here at the treaty grounds over the last couple of years is a huge level of interest in the treaty and those early days and our nation from what I call new New Zealanders."

He said the Treaty ground had some information in different languages, but thought having the whole treaty translated will make it easier for visitors.

The project received the support of organisations such as Archives New Zealand, the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the European Union Delegation to New Zealand.