And one of the key historical texts from the 20th century, is Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.

Translated into more than 70 different languages, the iconic tale of a young girl's courage in the face of discrimination has touched more than 90 million people worldwide.  

But it is only in June this year, that the powerful story will be available to read in te reo Māori.

This is largely thanks to Dutch businessman Boyd Klap, who organised translation of the text, fundraising a hefty $100,000 to bring the story to Māori readers.

Klap says the messages from Anne Frank’s diary are as relevant today as ever before.

“This was the most horrific aspect of discrimination,” he says

“Individual anti-Semitism became government policy and eventually a country became so discriminatory that they were going to wipe out a race.

“Have we learned from that experience?” he asks.  

“I think sometimes not, because of what is happening in the Middle East and in particular what's happened here in Christchurch when 51 people were killed in a [mosque] shooting.”

Klap says the recent attack in Christchurch has opened people’s eyes to the fact that we still have much work to do to stamp out discrimination and prejudice.

Education, he says, is our best weapon.

“It starts with schools, it starts at the school with bullying which is a nasty form of discrimination...

“So what I hope will happen is that more and more schools will focus on the aspect that we are all equal, that everybody should be treated as an equal, because if that eventually happens then we'll have less discrimination when [students] grow up.”

Te Haumihiata Mason, the translator of the text, is no stranger to prejudice.

Klap says Mason began her life in a Māori community before moving to an English-speaking area of New Zealand when she was about 10 years old.

“...she was badly treated, she wasn't allowed to speak Māori and that gave her a real will to do something about that language,” Klap explains

“As she developed and as she was educated she became an outstanding translator.”

Klap reminds us it was only 30 years ago that Māori children would get the strap if caught speaking their own language at school.

But, he’s happy to see this has changed.

“Over the years there's been a realisation that it is the culture of this country ... and there has been a renaissance of Māori, and I noticed that my grandchildren at school learn a lot about it, they know much more than the older people do.”

“The acceptance of Māori is such that now is the time to launch this diary in that language which I think will be met with great approval,” he says.

Indeed the project already has the approval of generous donors including the Dutch Rabobank, Sir David Leven, the Māori Language Commission and Wellington City Council (with the Wellington Community Trust).

Klap says rustling up the financial support wasn’t easy, but he remained steadfast through the process.

“Yeah, it was hard work. Did many people say ‘no’? Many more than who said ‘yes’,” he laughs.

“I mean, that is sponsorship. You fail, you fail, you have a problem, you get a disappointment and you need to keep going.

“But by and large, I haven't heard any criticism, put it that way, none at all.

“The reaction I've had – and I've done many voluntary projects over the years – has been absolutely amazing.”