The Treaty Times Thirty team have completed their work to produce 30 translations of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi. They were deeply honoured to be able to present their work to Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy on Friday 17 February 2017 at Government House in Wellington.
The Treaty Times Thirty book is available free of charge online, and copies can be ordered by contacting the project team. On being presented with the book, the Governor General explained that she will inform new citizens about it at citizenship ceremonies and encourage them to download a copy. It will also be distributed to public libraries throughout New Zealand.
Treaty Times Thirty translators, reviewers and organisers celebrated their achievements at a gathering following the formal reception.
Stefan Grand-Meyer gave a moving speech before presenting the Treaty Times Thirty book to Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy. You can read Stefan’s speech below.
Speech by Stefan Grand-Meyer
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, my fellow translators and interpreters,
I would like to begin my address by thanking our hosts, Her Excellency The Governor General The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, and His Excellency Sir David Gascoigne, for your hospitality and support.
It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be standing here before you today, and I am very proud to speak on behalf of the Treaty Times 30 project.
Today is a momentous day. It is the crowning achievement of an initiative that first began on a dark and stormy night in September 2015 in Wellington, when a group of us wondered how we would celebrate the 30th anniversary of the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters. My dear friend Cecilia Titulaer had a crazy idea, and said “how about translating Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi into 30 languages?” Silence fell in the room.
The Treaty Times 30 project was born. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into. 18 months later, here we are.
Reaching such an achievement required, among many things, an incredible amount of time, devotion and perseverance. It required the unfaltering moral, and financial, support of the National Council of our Society.It required the help and input of Treaty experts like Dame Claudia Orange and Dr Ingrid Huygens, who are with us tonight. It required the support of key organisations like Archives New Zealand, the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Treaty education organisations such as Tangata Tiriti and Waitangi Network Otautahi, as well as the support of design company Tangerine Design. It required funding too, which we secured through PubCharity, the Pelorus Trust and the European Union Delegation to New Zealand. But above all, it required over 150 volunteers, many of whom are in this room tonight. They gifted countless hours of their time and worked together to produce the translations into 30 foreign languages and into New Zealand Sign Language, one of New Zealand’s official languages.
Today, I want to express my gratitude and my thanks to all of you. What we have accomplished together, through hard work and collaboration, is remarkable. It is a true reflection of the guiding whakataukī we chose when we began this journey:
He toa takitini tōku toa, ehara i te toa takitahi.
My strength is that of many, not that of an individual.
Without you, without us coming together and working together, we would not be here tonight.
I would also like to acknowledge the incredible contribution of the organising committee that I have had the pleasure to work with over the past 18 months. I would like to specifically thank you for making this happen. Cecilia, Mandy, Maria and Shirley, Ian, Jayne, Karl, Kirsten, Olga, Sanying and Xuan — I am speaking tonight, but you are the heart and soul of Treaty Times 30.
Tonight we celebrate translation, and the role that translators and interpreters play in today’s world. Already in 1840, translation played an important part: it was key in the history of Te Tiriti and the Treaty, and is at the heart of the lasting controversy around the differences in meaning between the two versions. Really, this should have served as a cautionary tale:
Never underestimate the power of translators.
Never underestimate the need for professional translation.
The significance of our project cannot be overstated: with over 200 ethnicities and more than 160 spoken languages, Aotearoa New Zealand has become superdiverse. It is important to give the diverse communities of Aotearoa New Zealand access to the founding documents of our country. It is important to allow them to better understand the debates that shake and shape our society. It is important to enable them to actively engage with our history, and our future. In light of the recent developments overseas, this is particularly relevant: Our project shows the world that Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes and embraces diversity.
Not only does Treaty Times 30 contribute to building a more inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand, it also underlines the place of Te Tiriti in our society. Just last week, a friend of mine confessed her lack of understanding of Treaty issues. She felt that it was primarily about Māori privilege, and she’s not the only one to feel that way.
If anything, this shows how much we, as a society, still need to do if we want to truly honour Te Tiriti. Organisations like Tangata Tiriti play an important role in this regard, and they will be using our translations and this book for their education programme. It is our hope that others will use and reuse our translations too.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, tonight we, the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters officially gift to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand the translations of Te Tiriti and the Treaty of Waitangi that we completed through the Treaty Times 30 project.
We will also gift copies of the book to all public libraries and Treaty education organisations across New Zealand. An electronic version of the book will be freely available on our website too.
It is my hope that New Zealanders, migrants and refugees as well as members of the international community will use these translations to better understand our founding documents. It is my hope too that our project does not end here tonight.
My challenge to the NZSTI, and to all of you, is to keep the Treaty Times 30 project and its kaupapa alive, by adding a language every year for example. My challenge to you all is to keep building bridges between people, through translation, interpreting and otherwise, and to continue exploring the meaning of diversity and inclusiveness in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Your Excellency, it is my great pleasure and pride to present to you on behalf of the NZSTI and the project organising committee, this book, Treaty Times 30, as a gift to you and the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.
With thanks to Adalen Photography