There are around 6,600 languages in the world.
Less than 500 of them have a complete Bible.
Only 1,231 have the New Testament.
There are still 2,252 languages awaiting a first Bible translation.
With the help of our supporters, and working in collaboration with other Bible Societies, we’re working to address this need and make the Word of God accessible to more people everywhere.
As a member of the United Bible Societies (UBS), Bible Society New Zealand supports and contributes to UBS translation work worldwide.
Through sponsorship of translation projects and assistance to translators, UBS makes the Scriptures more accessible to people of different nations and cultures. Together with Bible Societies around the world, including New Zealand, UBS are currently translating God’s Word into more than 450 languages.
In 2010 Bibles became available in 10 more languages and 27 New Testaments.
“Bible Societies exist to open the inexhaustible riches of sacred Scripture to all.” – Pope John Paul II
New Zealand translation projects
Bible Society New Zealand is currently involved in three translation projects in New Zealand.
New Maori Translation
After receiving a mandate from key Maori denominational leaders in 2009, Bible Society New Zealand has begun work on establishing a brand new translation of the Bible in Maori.
This hugely significant project will be the largest translation task Bible Society has undertaken in New Zealand since the last revision of the Maori Bible was published in 1952. Although that particular edition is and always will be considered a taonga (a treasure), for some, particularly young people for whom Maori is a second language, the language is now somewhat dated.
Watch the short film – A vision of a new contemporary Maori Bible.
Reformatted Maori Bible
For some years Bible Society has been involved in a project to reformat and enhance Te Paipera Tapu, the Maori Bible. The current translation, first published in 1952, is now being enhanced to make it more readable (the actual Bible text remains unchanged). This includes the addition of macrons to indicate long vowels, modern punctuation including speech marks and paragraphing, book introductions, section headings and maps. The New Testament with the enhanced text (alongside the Good News Bible text in English) is available now and the complete enhanced Maori Bible will be ready for publication in 2012.
The Tokelau Society for the Translation of the Bible initiated a project to translate the Bible into the Tokelauan language. The Gospel of Mark was published in Tokelauan in 2000, and the four Gospels in one volume in 2003. Then, at a spectacular launch at the Tokelauan church in Porirua, the New Testament was launched in June of 2009.
This is the first New Testament ever produced in the Tokelauan language. The translation team, headed by Ioane Teao, is based in Porirua.
Work is continuing on the Old Testament, with the complete Tokelauan Bible likely to be ready in another 8 years.
Watch the celebrations and hear more about the project.
Worldwide translation projects
Here are just some of the hundreds of translation projects Bible Societies are involved in and some of the projects supported by Bible Society New Zealand.
Kiwi helps Urak Lawoi in Thailand
Watch this short film to follow Kiwi Translation Consultant Dr Stephen Pattemore as he helps the Urak Lawoi people in Thailand translate the Bible into their heart language.
Kimyal New Testament launch in Indonesia
The Kimyal people of the Eastern Highlands of West Papua, Indonesia have finally received the New Testament in their heart language. The translation project, which took decades, culminated in joyous rapture at its launch in March 2010.
Read more about this great event.
Watch the film of the launch ceremony.
Unspeakable Joy in Ecuador
This short video captures the excitement of Ecuador's Quichua Cañar people as they welcomed the publication of the first complete Bible in their language in March 2011. In a powerful declaration of their Christian faith, 3,000 Quichua Cañar people took part in a celebratory parade, ending in an emotional church service where they read from their new Bible and reflected on the impact it will have on their community.
The Quichua Cañar Bible is the result of 20 years of work and was published by the United Bible Societies in Ecuador.
Watch the video.
As a little girl, Mrs Bala wanted to learn to read and write, but owing to her family’s poverty she was unable to. Now, at the age of 75 she has been attending Bible Society literacy classes at the Chourkhuli Church of Bangladesh in Kotalipara in southwestern Bangladesh.