The Trail Of Waitangi

William Colenso.

The first New Zealand book printed, and bibliography of works printed

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William Colenso was born in Cornwall, England on 7th November 1811, and at the age of 15 years, although having done some initial studying for the medical profession, began a six year apprenticeship in "the art of Printer, Bookbinder and Stationer". It appears he had personally little say in this choice of career, as his apprenticeship was an arranged contract between his parents and his employer. However he faithfully served his full term, learning the trade very proficiently.

During this time he also became interested in, and involved with natural history, and the collection, study and classification of botany. In his personal spiritual walk, he was slowly becoming more disinterested in the forms and rituals of the high Anglican upbringing of his family, and tended to mix more with those known as 'dissenters', leaning towards the more liberal views of Wesleyan evangelism.

At twenty one years of age, with his apprenticeship now complete, he sought work that eventually took him to London. Life in London was difficult for him in the city, and his inner longing was for a view of the sea waves and clear blue skies. It was during this time in London that he was introduced to the Church Missionary Society.
At this very same time, the Societies missionaries in New Zealand were urging the Society to set up a printing press in that country, and they were seeking a person skilled in the printing industry. William had already had previous thoughts of mission work, and after applying for the position, he was eventually accepted, and on 1st April 1834 he received his final instructions from the Committee of the Society. During this period he visited the British Museum, and the Zoological Gardens to examine animal and plant exhibits, expanding his knowledge in the collecting and preserving of specimens of geology, ornithology, entomology etc. William left England in the Prince Regent on the 19th June on a five month voyage bound for Sydney, Australia.

On the 10th December he left Sydney aboard the Blackbird, which during her voyage to New Zealand, ran aground, sprang leaks and faced other difficulties before arriving in the Bay of Islands 21 days after setting sail. William arrived ashore at 10pm on 30th December 1834, spending his first night with the family of William Williams. The following day the 'brown skinned natives' made Koroneho (the closest they could get to pronouncing his name) very welcome. Also aboard the Blackbird was William's printing equipment, a Stanhope printing press, heavy boxes of type with bookbinding equipment and tools. To handle the conveying of the heavy press to shore two canoes were lashed together and a platform was built on them. The press was then safely carried to and landed on the beach.

All were enthusiastic about getting the printing press into operation, but they found on unpacking the accompanying cases that not all the necessary equipment and tools had been packed, and that there was no paper at all. In the mean time, and with a lot of ingenuity they were able to make progress, but it was not until 18 months later that all the equipment finally arrived.

The order of the Maori language had been settled upon by a committee of missionaries, those principally concerned being William Williams, William Yate and W.G. Puckey. As William Williams had completed a translation the books of Phillipians and Ephesians from the Bible, this was chosen as the first work for the press. On the 17th February, 1835, the first proofs of the first book ever printed in New Zealand were produced. (Although this was the first book ever printed in New Zealand, William Colenso was undoubtedly the first printer, however William Yate had printed some quite unprofessional sheets in the Maori language at Kerikeri in August or September of 1830).

Twenty five copies were initially printed, and covered with a pink blotting paper pasted on a backing of stronger paper and presented to the missionaries. Some paper was later found at the Mission Store at Kerikeri (built 1833, the oldest stone building built in New Zealand), and with the help of a bright native youth, 2,000 copies of the little 16 page book were printed and bound. Until such time as good volumes of paper would arrive, the press was used to print small quantities of items such as multiplication and addition tables for schools in both English and Maori. In December 1835 1000 copies of the Gospel of St Luke in Maori (67 pages, translated by William Williams) were printed and bound with the previously printed Epistles.

On the 19th May 1836, the first book in English ever printed in New Zealand was produced, it being a pamphlet of eight pages (post 8vo), containing the first Report of the New Zealand Temperance Society. Colenso had shown a personal interest in the formation of the Society which was established for the purpose of combating the drunkenness and subsequent immorality prevalent in the Bay. The following Sunday he visited Pomare's great war pa at Otiuhu and found a large number of white men drinking and gambling with the natives, and spent several hours amongst much abuse "persuading the so-called Christians to better ways of living."

Early in 1836 it was learned that the impatiently awaited paper had arrived in Sydney, and in anticipation the translator (Williams) sent 12 chapters of the book of Matthew for Colenso to begin work on. By now William Williams had moved to Te Waimate, a long days journey on foot from Paihia. At Te Waimate he was the missionary in charge of the whole north, he ran a Mission Boarding School at which he was the sole teacher, and in addition to his work as translator he acted as physician and surgeon to the native population.

Communication between Williams and Colenso was often by native messenger, usually not less than once fortnightly. Colenso, before he commenced work each day at the press, also had to take a service and classes. What a difficult task it would have been in these circumstances, with all the hand setting of type and the proof reader so distant, to undertake the task of printing on a small hand press, the whole of the New Testament, being 356 pages each and 5,000 copies.

The undertaking occupied Williams and Colenso from 14th March 1836, to the 30th December 1837, on which date Colenso bound a few copies in calfskin to give to the missionaries as a New Year's gift. 4000 copies were for the mission, and 1000 copies for the Wesleyan brethren. Colenso bound half the books, the Wesleyan Mission sent theirs to London to be bound, and the balance were sent to Sydney to be bound by Campbell & Co.

The printing of the New Testament in Maori was of great significance, and to the Maori, who had known no form of written script previously, the book was in incessant demand. The Society and Mission was so extremely fortunate in having the combination of such a competent printer in Colenso, and such an ardent scholar in Williams, "from whom the Maori language flowed fluently without him seeming to ever have learned it." The printing of the New Testament in Maori was the most important task Colenso had been called upon to perform by the mission, and he now had time to turn to other smaller printing tasks, one of which was the beginning's of William Williams' Dictionary and Grammar of the Maori Language".

The above information was mostly extracted from pages 17 - 56 of the book WILLLIAM COLENSO by A.G. Bagnall and G. C. Petersen, published by A. H. & A. W. Reed 1948. The bibliography below of works printed by Colenso is from pages 458-460 of the same book.
A rather good biography of William Colenso can be found on the Te Ara website

For WORKS PRINTED see below

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The "W" letter following the size of the edition indicates where the full reference will be found in Williams, A Bibliography of Printed Maori, 1926.

At Paihia

Ko nga Pukapuka o Paora te Apotoro ki te Hunga o Epeha o Piripai. The Epistle to the Ephesians and the Philippians. 2,000. W I5.
Tables. (Addition, multiplication and shillings and pence.) 500. W 16.
Ko te Rongo Pai i tuhituhia e Ruka. The Gospel according to St. Luke. 1,000. W 17.
Circular to natives relative to attempted murder of Busby. (To order of the British Resident.) 50. W 17a.
Address to settlers relative to Baron Thierry (To order of the British Resident. ) 75.
Circular to natives relative to Baron Thierry. (To order of the British Resident.) 70. W 17b.

Notice calling meeting for the purpose of forming a Temperance Society. (To order of the New Zealand Auxiliary Temperance Soeiety.) 50.
Report of tbe Formation and Establishment of the New Zealand Temperance Society. (To order of the New Zealand Auxiliary Temperance Society.) 300.

He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni. Declaration of Independence. (To order of the British Resident.) 100. W 21.
Maori Grammar. The beginnings of the Maori Grammar of William WilIiams. 500. W 22.
Ko te Kawenata Hou o to tatou Ariki te Kai Wakaora a Ihu Karaiti. The New Testament in Maori. 5,000. W 20.

Order of Consecration of Burial Ground. I00. W 25.
Order of Confirmation Service. 200. W 26.

Ko te Pukapuka o nga Inoinga, me te Minitatanga o nga Hakarameta, ko era Tikanga hoki o te Hahi, ki te Ritenga o te Hahi o Ingarani. Tbe Church of England Prayer Book. 7,000 abridged, 2 eds. 7,000 full. W 31.
Tract. Pukapuka aroha. (To order of Auxiliary Religious Tract Society.) 2,000.
Prospectus of "Victoria Institution for Maintenancee and Education of Children the Offspring of English Fathers by New Zealand Mothers. (To order of the British Resident.) 200.
Circular Letter calling meeting at Korororeka. (To order of the British Resident.) 70.
Placard calling Meeting. (To order of the British Resident.) 40.
He Kupu Ui mo te Hunga o te Kura. Questions for use in schools. 3,000.W 32.
Ko te Pukapuka Kauwau o te Pihopa, Ki te Hunga Wakapono o Nu Tirani, e huihui ana ki te Hahi o Ingarani, i te Wakaminenga ki Paihia, mo te Karakia o te Wakapanga ringaringa. Bishop Broughton's address to the natives at the first confirmation in New Zealand. 4,000. W 33.
He Pukapuka Wakaako; he wakamatau i nga tangata kiano i mohio noa ki te korero pukapuka. A primer for those unable to read. 10,000. W 34.
Second edition, 1842. 10,000.
Ko nga Himene. 42 hymns.

Ko te Pukapuka o nga Inoinga. Third edition of the Prayer Book. 20,000. W37.
Ko nga Waiata o Rawiri. The Psalms of David. 11,000. W 38.
Ko te Pukapuka a nga Inoinga. Large edition. 6,000. W 39.
Ko nga Katikihama ewa: ka oti nei te wakamaori ki te reo o Nu Tireni, 10,000 W 49.
Mo te Hapa o te Ariki. For use of natives at Communion. W 40.
Mo te Iriringa. For use of candidates at baptism. W 41.
Ko tatahi Wahanga o te Kawenta Hou o to tatau Ariki te Kai Wakaroa a Ihu Karaiti. Parts of the New Testament. W 42.
Ko nga Upoko eono o te Pukapuka a te Poropiti a Raniera: me te Pukapuka ano hoki a te Poropiti a Hona. Six chapters of Daniel and the Book of Jonah. 5,000. W 43.
Ko nga Upoko ewitu (etc., as in previous item). 5,000. W 44.
Ko tetahi Wahi o te Pukapuka a Ihaia e te Poropiti. Parts of the Book of Isaiah 5,000 W 45.
Ko tetahi Wahi o te Pukapuka Tuarua o Mohi o Ekoruhe. Parts of the Book of Exodus. 5,600. W 46.
He Maramatakahaere. Almanac. W 56.
Lesson Sheets (4). 500 of each. W 51.
Ko te Kitenga a Ihikiera. Ezekiel. W 56.

The following items to the order of the Lieutenant Governor:-
The Treaty of Waitangi. 200. W 52.
Circular summoning natives to Waitangi. 100.
Proclamation of the Queen's authority. 100.
Proclamation regarding land purchases. 100. W 53.
Impounding Notices 100.
Circular to Natives. 100. W 55.
He Wakapuakanga. Circular warning natives against buying army stores.
Proclamation asserting Queen's Sovereignty over New Zealand. 100.
Proclamation asserting Queen's Sovereignty over New Zealand. 100.
Proclamation asserting Queen's Sovereignty over New Zealand (amended). 100.
Government "Gazette Extraordinory," No. 1. 150.

He Maramatakahaere. Almanac. 2,000. W 67.

Ko te Pukapuka o nga Inoinga. Third edidon of 1839abrided edition of the Prayer Book. 20,000. W 73.
He Pukapuka wakaako, Second edition of 1539 primer. 10,000. W 74
Marriage licenses, affidavits and certificates. 500.
Ko nga Katikihama ewa. W 76. (Apporently portion only printed by Colenso.)
Bishop Selwyn's Thanksgiving sermon. 500
Whakawhiwhia ou minita. (Leaflet) W 77.
He Kupu Wakatupato Na te Oroha Pono. W 84.
He Maramatakahaere. Almanac. W 86.
Multiplication tables 1,150.

He Maramatakaere. 2,000.

Dictionary of the New Zealand Language and a Concise Grammar. William Williams

At Waitangi

Hymns. W 161.
He korero tenei mo Ani Kanara. W 162
Ticket relating to the Holy Communion. W 163.
He inoinga ma te tangata e wakaaro ana ki te Iriiringa. W 164.

Te Tikanga Kura. Rules, etc., of the school. W 177.

To Hiahia o te Ariki: he Kauwau. Sermon. W 178.
Mo te Hapa o te Ariki: he Kauwau. Sermon, W 179

Ko te Pukapuka a te Hui nui no nga Mihanere a te Hahi, i huihui atu ki Ranana. Account of the Jubilee Missionary Meeting in London. W 208
A letter from Te Hapuku. W 209.

Ki te Hunga o te Hahi ki nga Kai-wakaako ratou ko te Hunga tango-hapa. Instructions to Church people warning them against racing, cards, etc.
Ko te Katikihama Motumotu. Catechism.

He Katikihama Wakapanga. Questions and answers on Confirmation.
He Manuwiri hou ko Te Wakakite. Nicene Creed, etc.
He Matenga Totika. Happy Deaths. W 249.
Leaflets were also isued from time to time giving lists of places to be visited and date of visit, e.g., W 24. (One only is mentioned by Williams.)