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Spreading the word

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'Columbian' printing press, 1841, Clymer and Dixon (1813–1850), Clymer, George (1752–1834), England. Gift of Kerslake, Billens and Humphrey Ltd, 1974. Te Papa

 
  • Close ties
  • Issuing a challenge
  • A modest adaption
  • Embroidering religion
  • Island Bible
  • Printed word

Printed word

This printing press helped the Church Missionary Society to spread the ‘Word of God’ among the so-called ‘heathen’ in New Zealand. From 1842, the Anglican mission used it to print the Bible, prayers, and hymns in Māori for those they’d taught to read and write.

William Colenso, the Society’s printer from 1834 to 1843, operated this press briefly when it replaced his original hand press. His successor, John Telford, used it to print the first edition of William Williams’ Dictionary of the New Zealand Language, 1844.

Despite its ornate design – a marketing ploy to make it ‘unforgettable’ – this iron press is actually very practical and strong.