The story of the translation and printing of the Bible in New Zealand's indigenous Maori language is an epic journey.
It is filled with disappointments, hardship and false starts, infighting, gun-running, wars, tribal and denominational conflicts, conspiracy and immorality, but like every good drama, there are heroes who run the race with patience and ultimately there are history changing breakthroughs.
The first Maori New Testament translation was completed by William Williams and his team and printed by William Colenso in 1837.
After many revisions the full Bible was produced 31 years later in 1868 under the supervision of Hebrew scholar and missionary Robert Maunsell. Since then, the text has been revised three times: 1889, 1925 and in 1952.
A completely reformatted version of the existing 1952 Maori Bible text was used for the most recent release of Te Kawenata Hou (The New Testament) in December 2008.
A revised full New Testament Bible revision is due to be completed over the next decade.
The Vision Network has suggested all churches take a special interest in learning how the Gospel impacted their particular town or region, including the Maori heroes of the faith and how Maori responded to the Gospel message.
The Tertiary Christian Students Fellowship (TCSF) is producing thousands of copies of the Gospel of Luke in both English and Maori in 2014 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Samuel Marsden preaching the first church service on New Zealand soil on December 25, 1814.
This will include the story of the little girl Tarore’s who’s gospel, stolen from the little kete bag around her neck after her murder, had such a profound impact on this nation.