Celebrating 30 years of New Zealand Society of Translators & Interpreters (NZSTI)

When the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on the 6th of February 1840 at Waitangi, and elsewhere at different locations in New Zealand during 1840, it was a treaty signed between two parties. The first party comprised those hapū whose chiefs throughout New Zealand signed it, and the second party was the British Crown, whose representative, Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson, signed on its behalf.

In the present day context, the two Treaty partners are Māori as tangata whenua (even though some iwi and hapū did not sign the Treaty) and the Crown. The term Crown encompasses the government of New Zealand and all non-Maori citizens and residents of New Zealand.

On 17 February 2017, the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI) gifted translations of the Treaty of Waitangi to the Governor General on behalf of the people of New Zealand at a reception held at Government House. 116 translators worked together to translate the English and Māori versions of the Treaty into 30 languages and New Zealand Sign Language (one of the official languages of Aotearoa, New Zealand). This is the result of a project conceived to celebrate the Society’s 30th anniversary.

Treaty expert and advisor to this unique project Dame Claudia Orange said ‘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’.

Project spokesperson Stefan Grand-Meyer presents the Treaty Times 30 edition to the Governor General of New Zealand; project team members; New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) translators with Project Spokesperson and FIT President Liu

‘The publication of the translations aims to make the Treaty more accessible to immigrants, and to encourage a better understanding of the Treaty internationally’ adds Project spokesperson Stefan Grand Meyer.

The Treaty Times Thirty project also stresses the importance of translation in New Zealand, and highlights the translator’s difficult task of re-expressing identical meaning from one language to another. It also shows the importance of professional and accurate translations in multicultural, multilingual Aoteaora, New Zealand.

Members of NZSTI National Council at the Reception

In congratulating the tremendous effort and dedication of the project team – Cecilia Titulaer (Project Creator and Manager), Stefan Grand-Meyer (Project Spokesperson), Mandy Hewett and Sanying Huang (Translator Co-ordinators), Shirley and Ian Cormack (Editorial and Typesetting Team), Jayne Fox, Olga Suvorora, Maria Marull and Xuan Luo – President Liu, who himself sits on the National Council of NZSTI and is the first FIT President from Aotearoa, New Zealand, praised the project for adding to the list of landmarks and achievements of this small nation in the Pacific. Not only does New Zealand lead the world in its acknowledgement of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) as an official language, NZSTI also predated this as one of the world’s first professional associations of translators and interpreters to develop a formal and ongoing collaborative relationship with our sign language interpreters association – the Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand (SLIANZ) – and admitting sign language interpreters as equal members. NZSTI also established a formal relationship with Te Taurawhiri i te Reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission, the guardian of Te Reo Māori, and has been a leader in indigenous language translation and interpreting training.

Treaty Times Thirty Inaugural edition

Following the Memorandum of Understanding with our Australian counterpart – The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) – NZSTI and AUSIT adopted the world’s first trans-national professional Code of Ethics in 2012. In the same year, New Zealand became the first country to offer resettlement to all 23 interpreters who have worked for the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and their families.
The project team and NZSTI acknowledge the generous support of major organisations including Archives New Zealand, the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Delegation of the European Union to New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. It is hoped that the resulting book, The Treaty Times Thirty, will be seen as a valuable gift to all New Zealanders and beyond.

(All Photos courtesy of Adalen Photography)

Click here to view the PDF version of this press release.

  • Published: 6 years ago on 27 March 2017