New edition of Māori Bible launched

Thirteen years in the making, a new edition of Te Paipera Tapu (the Holy Bible in Māori) was launched during Holy Week at Te Rau College in Gisborne.

A team from Bible Society New Zealand has been reformatting the Māori Bible for a new generation of Māori speakers.

The current translation, first published in 1952, has been enhanced to make it more readable (the actual Bible text remains unchanged).

The addition of macrons will be particularly useful for second-language speakers, to help them better understand the text.

Along with macrons, the entire Bible has been reformatted into paragraphs, replacing the King James style in which each verse begins on a new line.

“This task is much more difficult than it sounds, especially when it comes to books like the Psalms,” Stephen Pattemore, Bible Society’s translation services director, said.

“Paragraphing brings a much more familiar look and feel to the text for today’s readers, who are likely to encounter paragraphs in almost everything they read.”

Work has also begun on producing a new translation of the Māori Bible.

Having received a  receiving a mandate from key Māori denominational leaders in 2009, the first steps will be taken next month with a meeting of  Māori church leaders and Bible Society representatives.

The journey will be along one. It is expected to take 13 to 20 years to complete, with the first two years spent planning the direction.

This significant project will be the largest translation task Bible Society has undertaken in New Zealand since the last revision of the Māori Bible was published in 1952.


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