NZ Treaty translated into 30 languages
It is unlikely to end the debate but a new book will at least make it easier for non Maori and English speakers to understand the Treaty of Waitangi.
A group of 116 volunteers, under the umbrella of the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters, have translated it into 30 languages.
The society presented The Treaty Times Thirty book to the Governor General at a special reception on Friday, February 17.
The book is the result of a project conceived to celebrate the society's 30th anniversary.
Spokesman Stefan Grand Meyer hoped it would improve understanding of the treaty and show the value of having professional translators.
In Auckland, there are 160 spoken languages and that figure is expected to increase.
"This is a really core project to us because we are highlighting the importance of translation in an increasingly multi cultural society … this allows people whose native tongue is not English to engage in the Treaty."
Translation was not straight forward and the final result was peer reviewed internationally by experts, including language professors.
Some languages do not have equivalent words and agreeing on the meaning of concepts was always challenging.
Treaty of Waitangi expert Dame Claudia Orange supported the project.
"The translations of the Treaty of Waitangi in the many languages of our country will add significantly to people's understanding of New Zealand's founding agreement."
The society has had 1200 copies published and will be presenting every public library with a copy.
Grand Meyer is delighted with the product and believes it will be well received.