The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)
The Caxton of New Zealand — Printing in the Early Days
In the daily press a few weeks ago, appeared the following note:-
Early New Zealand Printing.
“A link with the early days of printing in New Zealand is provided by a copy of the Gospel of St. Luke, in Maori, printed by the Rev. William Colenso, at Pahia, Bay of Islands, in 1835, which was exhibited at the Winter Show last week. This work of Colenso's was the first printing of the Scriptures in New Zealand”
The details of that printing are very interesting. The Rev. William Colenso had rather varied duties to perform in those far off days, having to act as surgeon and dispenser in addition to performing the usual work around the mission station. He had necessity, too, to learn the Maori language and to take a hand in settling an occasional disturbance among the tribes and sub-tribes of the district. He lived a day's walk from the office, which fact added to the difficulties of his printing work.
An example of the printer's art. A reproduction of the programme prepared by the Railways Department for the ceremony associated with laying the foundation stone of the Railways Head Office Building in Wellington, by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cornwall and York (His Present Majesty King George V.), on 21st June, 1901.
The printing of the New Testament, consisting of 356 pages, was completed by the middle of December, 1837, and by dint of hard work Mr. Colenso was able to finish binding a few copies in calf by the end of the month. These copies were used for distribution as a New Year's gift to the missionaries, on the 1st of January, 1838. There are still in existence, in a good state of preservation, a few copies of this early work. On the completion of the New Testament the editor and the printer were given a holiday by the committee of Missionaries—a holiday which they richly deserved.