Revision of the New Zealand Testament, St Matthew and St Mark, 1843 (ANG 63/3/1.6)

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1838. 5,000 copies were produced of this first edition, which was translated mainly by William Williams. The second edition of the complete New Testament in Maori, published in 1841, was printed in London with a print run of 20,000. The New Testament in Maori was first published by William Colenso at Paihia in Third and fourth editions were published in 1842 and 1844 respectively.

Following the publication of the third edition a Syndicate was appointed by the Bishop of New Zealand and under the direction of the Church Missionary Society, to revise the New Testament, St Matthew and St Mark. The Syndicate consisted of the Ven. Archdeacon William Williams, the Rev. Robert Maunsell, James Hamlin and William Puckey.

The images of the featured manuscript of the Revision show the layout of pages, with columns for the ‘Present Version’ set alongside changes recommended by Syndicate members, as well as a ‘General Remarks’ column. In the Mark Ch.1V section (p.226) for example, is the comment: “I never recollect to have heard such an expression as ka nui te. I think tino would be preferable tho’ this is not often used. Mr H.”

Such remarks give a unique insight into the thinking re the revised translation, which is likely to have influenced the fifth edition of the Maori New Testament, published in London in 1852.
It was reported that the British Foreign Bible Society received complaints from Maori in some localities about the new text, compared with the original Paihia (1838) version. To this the Rev. Maunsell is said to have responded that William Williams had been involved in the preparation of both versions and strongly supported the new one as the far better translation.


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