NEW TONGAN BIBLE TAILORED TO MODERN DIALECT

News Release

Tonga Now Government of Tonga Nukualofa, Tonga June 12, 2007

The third version of the New Tongan Translation of the New Testament of the Bible was launched Sunday night at the Centenary Church, Nuku'alofa.

[PIR editor’s note: According to a website on world scriptures, the first comprehensive Tongan translation of the Bible was completed in 1862, and a revised version came out in 1966.]

The launching coincided with a special choral service marking the completion of the work and the launching of the third publication.

His Late Majesty, King Taufa’ahau tupou IV had a vision that the new testament be translated into Tongan. His late Majesty then authorized the Late and Former President of the Free Wesleyan Church, Rev. Dr. ‘Amanaki Havea together with Father Line Folaumoeloa of the Roman Catholic Church and Dr. Nigel Statham from the United Methodist Church of Australia to carry out this task.

Before the work was completed, Rev. Dr. ‘Amanaki Havea passed away and it was then that former President of the Free Wesleyan Church, Rev. Lopeti Taufa joined Folaumoeloa and Statham to complete this task.

Lopeti Taufa said His late Majesty's vision was to translate the Bible version into one language for his people and his country. He says the launching of the new translated version by Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu Tuita is a milestone.

"This version uses today’s language for today’s generation and future also. Our language today has different grammar and spelling and we made every effort to ensure that this more understandable and modern. This has both the Tongan and English versions using the new revised standard version so anyone can read it and understand it and also have a better understanding of the Bible," said Rev. Taufa.

According to Lopeti, the beauty of this work is the coming together of all Christian churches in Tonga to finally use the same version.

"It’s a blessing that this was done by all the Christian faiths here in Tonga. The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, the churches of Tonga ande other Christian faiths who helped with the wording. We held consultations and discussions and any feedback we had, we used it in our work so we made changes accordingly and this is the end product," he said.

Named as The Taulua, Rev. Taufa says the new Tongan Translation of the New Testament is translated dynamically using the modern Tongan language.

About 2-thousand copies of the Taulua is now available at the Friendly Islands Bookshop costing TOP21.00 per copy.

Tonga Now, formerly operated by the Government of Tonga’s Reform Information Office, is currently operated by Kalia Media Serivces, which provides media responses and information about Tonga from the Government.

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