175 years; the untold story

When planning how to celebrate 175 years of Bible mission, we were unanimous – we needed to tell stories.

Stories that show the impact the Bible has had on peoples’ lives. Stories that document the role Bible Society has played in the spread of the Gospel message in New Zealand. And stories that reveal the passion and dedication for God’s Word held by Christians all over the country.

Te Pīhopa o Te Tairāwhiti Don Tamihere talks to Bible Society on film for our 175th anniversary.

But there’s one story we felt was the most important.

It’s a story not often told, commonly misunderstood and certainly underappreciated. It’s the story of how the Bible came to Aotearoa and the impact it had on the lives of Māori who both encountered and embraced it. Sure, parts of this story are well known – Rev Samuel Marsden preaching the first sermon at Oihi for example. But for the most part, the story of te Paipera Tapu (the Holy Bible), has often been told through a Pākehā lens.

Over the past few months, we’ve been on a journey to rediscover the story of te Paipera Tapu from a Māori perspective. We’ve spent time at Waharoa, learning about Tārore from Ngati Haua. We travelled to Oihi and listened to the story about the coming of te Paipera Tapu to Aotearoa and we’ve talked to other Māori church leaders who have shared their stories of  how the Bible has changed and transformed not only their lives, but also many of those from within their iwi.

Although we have more filming to go, we’re really excited about this aspect of our 175 anniversary celebrations. Come along to one of our 19 events around the country to hear these stories and gain a deeper understanding of how Māori were impacted by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Want to learn more about our 175 anniversary and how you can celebrate it with us? Click here.


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Inspired by the Great Commission, The United Bible Societies has the ambitious vision to complete 1,200 Bible Translations by 2038 which will make the Word of God accessible to 600 million People.