Maori Portal

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The Bible was translated into the Maori language in the 19th century by missionaries sponsored by the Church Missionary Society. In 1826 the Rev. William Williams started work on the translation of the Bible into the Māori language. The Rev. Robert Maunsell worked with William Williams on the translation of the Bible. William Williams concentrated on the New Testament; Maunsell worked on the Old Testament, portions of which were published in 1827, 1833 and 1840 with the full translation completed in 1857. In July 1827 the first Māori Bible was printed comprising 3 chapters of Genesis, the 20th chapter of Exodus, the 1st chapter of the Gospel of St John, 30 verses of the 5th chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew, the Lord’s Prayer and some hymns. William Gilbert Puckey also collaborated with William Williams on the translation of the New Testament, which was published in 1837 and its revision in 1844.[4]

The first edition of the full Māori Bible was published in 1868. Since then, there have been four revisions of the full Bible at intervals of 21 years, 36 years and finally 27 years up to the 1952 edition. The New Zealand Bible Society has a vision for a new translation of the Bible into modern colloquial Māori.

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