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Māori Language Act 1987





In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—


legal proceedings means—

(a)        proceedings before any court or tribunal named in Schedule 1; and

(b)        proceedings before any Coroner; and

(c)        proceedings before—

(i)         any commission of inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908; or

(ii)        any tribunal or other body having, by or pursuant to any enactment, the powers or any of the powers of such a commission of inquiry,—

that is required to inquire into and report upon any matter of particular interest to the Māori people or to any tribe or group of Māori people


Right to speak Māori in legal proceedings

(1)        In any legal proceedings, the following persons may speak Māori, whether or not they are able to understand or communicate in English or any other language:

(a)        any member of the court, tribunal, or other body before which the proceedings are being conducted:

(b)       any party or witness:

(c)        any counsel:

(d)       any other person with leave of the presiding officer.

(2)        The right conferred by subsection (1) to speak Māori does not—

(a)        entitle any person referred to in that subsection to insist on being addressed or answered in Māori; or

(b)       entitle any such person other than the presiding officer to require that the proceedings or any part of them be recorded in Māori.

(3)        Where any person intends to speak Māori in any legal proceedings, the presiding officer shall ensure that a competent interpreter is available.

(4)        Where, in any proceedings, any question arises as to the accuracy of any interpreting from Māori into English or from English into Māori, the question shall be determined by the presiding officer in such manner as the presiding officer thinks fit.

(5)        Rules of court or other appropriate rules of procedure may be made requiring any person intending to speak Māori in any legal proceedings to give reasonable notice of that intention, and generally regulating the procedure to be followed where Māori is, or is to be, spoken in such proceedings.

(6)        Any such rules of court or other appropriate rules of procedure may make failure to give the required notice a relevant consideration in relation to an award of costs, but no person shall be denied the right to speak Māori in any legal proceedings because of any such failure.


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