Translation projects 2020

Bible translation at the heart of mission

To read the full appeal publication, click here.

Bible translation stands at the heart of Bible Society’s mission, enabling the Word of God to be placed into people’s hands in their heart language.

Since 2015, United Bible Societies (UBS), of which Bible Society New Zealand is a member, have completed Scripture translations in 270 languages used by over 1.7 billion people!

Even though the Bible is now available in more languages and forms than ever before, there are still one billion people who don’t have access to the Bible in their own language.

Therefore, as part of its plan called the Bible Translation Roadmap, UBS aims to complete 1,200 translations within 20 years making God’s Word accessible to 600 million more people worldwide!

As part of this plan, Bible Society New Zealand is currently raising funds to help translation projects in New Zealand, the South Pacific, Thailand and Vietnam, which you can discover more about below.

To make a contribution towards these translation projects, just click the ‘Donate Now’ button below and then select your gift amount on the form (a donation of $5 or more is eligible for a tax credit).

Translation projects your donation will support this year:


Bunong Old Testament

Bunong Old Testament translation team.

The Bunong is an ethnic minority group living in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Traditionally animist, they experienced a mass conversion to Christianity in the 1950s and 1960s.

However, up until 2016 when they received the New Testament in their own language, they had to read the Bible in Vietnamese, which many struggled with.

Today, they are longing for the completion of the Bunong Old Testament, which is on target to be completed by the end of 2021.

This year, there’s an opportunity for you to support the Bunong translation project, which is only two years away from completion.

A donation of just $68 will help support their translation team reach their goal on time.

Yda’s journey of faith

The translation team working on the Bunong Old Testament, including Yda (second left).

Yda is a Bunong who was born into a Christian family, but he did not come to personally know the Lord until he was in high school.

“There were no Bibles in my house or even in my village for me to read. I claimed that I was a Christian, but I had never read the Bible before.
The only Scriptures that we had were a couple of verses in our hymnal,” said Yda.

In high school Yda received a Vietnamese Bible, which he joyfully shared with his friends. But it was still very difficult for him to understand.
All he wanted was the Scriptures in his own language.

“Although I was a Christian, I lost direction in my life.I went to work for the government for four years when I was young.

Without a growing personal relationship with God, I had many difficulties.
It was especially hard when I became homebound with a severe disease for two years. I have continually been praying for the Bible in my own language so I can understand it more easily,” he said.

Recently, Yda joined the Bunong Bible translation team (second left above). Through it, he has learned a lot about the Bible. “I have learned to love and respect my wife more.  The translation team has helped me to live Ephesians 5:25 – 28 in my life,” he explains.

New Zealand

Māori Bible

Paipera Tapu mobile app.

The success of our Paipera Tapu mobile app shows the need and demand for more Scripture resources in te Reo Māori .

There are now more than 10,000 active users of this resource. We have recently updated it, making more English translations available in the app, as well as a side-by-side feature for those wanting to read Māori alongside their favourite English version.

To celebrate our 175th anniversary next year, we are planning two new Māori  publications.

The first will be a book featuring the text of the very first Scriptures ever published in te Reo (1827) alongside brand new translations of the same passages.

We are also working on a full Māori Bible diglot edition (side by side Māori and English).

We’re planning to release this around September, the month of our 175th birthday.

The Tokelauan team reviewing the text.

Tokelau Bible

After 23 years of hard work the Tokelau Bible is at the final checking stage before going to typesetting, with a view to launch next year.

Can you prayerfully partner with us to help complete these translation projects in New Zealand?

For just $36 you will help fund translation teams to check Biblical texts.


Urak Lawoi Bible

Ethim translating at his computer.

The Urak Lawoi are a minority group living on Thailand’s Andaman Sea coast.

They have seen significant church growth since the 2004 tsunami. Ethim, a paraplegic, has been single-handedly translating the Old Testament into Urak Lawoi with assistance from BSNZ’s Translation Director, Dr. Stephen Pattemore.

This year will see the publication of volumes two and three of the Old Testament narrative as diglots in Urak Lawoi and Thai. The next step is the publication of the whole Bible in digital format.

Thai Study Bible

The Thai Study Bible will bring the Word of God to the younger generation.
It features in-depth study notes that will help the reader to understand the scriptures more clearly.

Can you partner with us to bring these Bibles to the people of Thailand?

A donation of $120 will provide translator training to those like Ethim.

South Pacific

Eastern Pacific Languages

A project supporting Bible translation projects for the following island nations: Niue, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Wallis, Futuna, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Nauru and Tahiti.

Cook Islands

Typesetting of Cook Islands Bible.

Can you help support these translation projects?

A donation of $350 will help provide translation consultancy support to translation teams throughout the South Pacific.

Completed Bible translation projects in 2019

Myanmar – Cho Chin Bible

Rev Dr David Hung, a Cho Chin speaking pastor, gives thanks to God for the Bible in his language.

In Myanmar, translator Rev Dr Thang Ngai Om wept as he held the Cho Chin Bible for the first time.  It’s a language spoken by 17,000 people.

Years of travelling long distances between his home and the translation office and taking great risks in crossing flooded rivers in the rainy season had all been worth it, he said through his tears.

“I have seen the Bible in my lifetime, and it’s my legacy for the next generations,” he added.

The day after the launch, a number of Cho Chin Christians hiked to the peak of Mount Victoria, the highest mountain in Chin State at 3,053 metres, taking copies of the Cho Chin Bible with them to lift high to give thanks and praise to God.

Angola – Ngangela New Testament

A young woman with a Ngangela New Testament at the launch.

In Angola, the New Testament in the Ngangela language was launched on 19th October 2019 at an event attended by 400 people, including government representatives, church leaders and media.
“It was a day of great joy,” commented Dinis Ezequiel, Office Consultant at the Bible Society in Angola.

He preached a sermon at the launch on the theme of: Let us pass on the Good News.  “Dear pastors, our task as translators is to help you nourish hope in people, and tell them the Good News,” he said.

As Dinis suggests, by giving pastors access to the Word in their own language, the standard of preaching improves, so allowing individuals to draw nearer to God.

Be part of Bible Society’s translation projects in 2020

Here’s what your donation will fund:

Donations of $5 or more are eligible for a tax credit.

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Internet Banking

If you’d like to make a bank transfer to Bible Society, our account number is 03 0558 0245656 02.

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