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Dictionary of the Maori language

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Dictionary of the Maori language H.W. Williams M.A

The first Edition appeared in 1852. This book has been revised 7 times. It is a great reference book for those learning te reo Māori.

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The first edition of A Dictionary of the New Zealand language, the work of William Williams, Archdeacon (and later Bishop) of Waiapu, appeared in 1852 – more than thirty years before the publication of the first part of the Oxford English Dictionary. Ever since then students of Maori language have found the Williams’ Dictionary indispensable. The third (1871) and fourth (1892) editions were revised by William Leonard, son of William. He, too, was Archdeacon (and later Bishop) of Waiapu. The fifth, much enlarged edition, was edited by Herbert, Grandson of William, and, inevitably it seems, Bishop of Waiapu.

Incorporating material provided by such scholars as Elsdon Best, A.S. Atkinson, Edward Tregear, William Colenso, and the Rev. Mohi Turei, and drawing its examples largely from the writings of Maori authorities including Te Rangikaheke, Te Rangihaeata, Te Whatahoro and others, the fifth edition was vitually a new work, and an enduring tribute to the linguistic scholarship of the Williams’ lineage.

The sixth edition of the dictionary broke with tradition, being revised by a largely Maori committee chaired by J.M. McEwen and later, M. Rotohiko Jones. Its membership, which included Sir Apirana Ngata, Canons Paora Temuera and Te Anga Kaa, Rangiwhakaata Halbert, Rangi Royal and Eru Pou, reads like a who’s who of Maoridom of the day. The sixth edition included a complete revision of the scientific nomenclature of natural species by A. Morris Jones.

The seventh edition was revised by a committee of the late Dr. Pei te Hurinui Jones (chairman) and Bruce Biggs, both members of the original revision committee, the late Mrs Beth Ranapia of the department of Education and Mrs Merimeri Penfold of the Maori studies section of the Anthropology Department, University of Auckland.


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