31 December 2010

New Zealand Order of Merit: Te Reo Appellations

You probably know that I previously agitated for the return of titular honours for the NZ Order of Merit. My support for the return of the old titular honours - the Knighthoods and Damehoods - was, however, teamed with the belief that we could also make the titular awards more Kiwi by formally providing for Te Reo translations or equivalent appellations.

Possible appellations could be, "Tā" (Sir) and "Kahurangi" (Dame). However, the development of these appellations probably should involve Māoridom and the Māori Language Commission to ensure they are appropriate and supported. Honorands could choose to adopt the English version or Te Reo.

Imagine this year's honours:

- Sir Raymond John Avery, Auckland, for services to philanthropy.
- Dame Alison Margaret Holst, CBE, QSM, Orewa, for services to the food industry.
- Tā (Sir) William David Baragwanath, for services as a judge of the Court of Appeal.
- Sir William Murray Gallagher, CNZM, MBE, Hamilton, for services to business.
- Sir Richard Michael Hill, CNZM, Arrowtown, for services to business and the arts.
- Sir James Henry Peter McNeish, Wellington, for services to literature.
- Tā (Sir) Tamati Muturangi Reedy, Wellington, for services to education.

I suspect, in the first instance, interest in the Te Reo appellations would come from Māori honorands or those Pākehā with strong connections to Māoridom. However, that might change over time as the appellations gain greater recognition.

I know each time this possibility has been raised, there seems to be general support for a change like this. It's also consistent with our practice of incremental evolution and patriation of our customs and traditions.

There are also a couple of other reforms needed to the titular awards to remove some old gremlins:

1. The accolade of Knighthood (the dubbing of shoulders with the ceremonial sword) is only conferred on men. This can and should be changed to also allow women to be so dubbed.

2. The courtesy title "Lady" is customarily only used for wives of Knights who take their husband's name (http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/honours/overview/titles-and-styles.html). The courtesy title does not apply to unmarried or civil union couples. There is no provision for same-sex couples. There is also no equivalent courtesy title for males spouses. We can and should abolish courtesy titles for new awards. That is, we can provide in the NZOM statutes that, for new honorands, their wives are not entitled to the courtesy title of Lady.

- LAWS179: "New Zealand Order of Merit: Restoring Titular Titles"
- LAWS179: "New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill"
- LAWS179: "New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill: My New Year Honours List"
- LAWS179: "Queen's Birthday Honours"
- LAWS179: "New Zealand Order of Merit: new Knighthoods and Damehoods"

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Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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