Story: Translation and interpreting – te whakamāori ā-tuhi, ā-waha hoki

'God save the Queen' in te reo Māori

Edward Marsh Williams, the eldest son of Henry Williams, translated the national anthem, 'God save the Queen', into Māori in 1860. Edward Williams had helped his father in the original translation of the Treaty of Waitangi, and then accompanied Major Thomas Bunbury as an interpreter when the treaty was taken round various tribes in New Zealand in 1840 to obtain signatures. Williams was then appointed the first official government interpreter. His version of the anthem was printed in 1897 on small cards, shown here, to be used by Māori accompanying Richard Seddon to Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee celebrations in England.  

Listen to the first verse of 'E te atua tohingia te kuini' being sung at a welcome for Queen Elizabeth II in 1971.

About this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: BIM 1486

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision – Radio New Zealand collection. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision (Auckland Festival - Te Rau Tau Concert 1971e/Reference number 44224)

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Translation and interpreting – te whakamāori ā-tuhi, ā-waha hoki - Treaty of Waitangi, publications and Parliament', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/music/45243/god-save-the-queen-in-te-reo-maori (accessed 21 November 2017)

Story by Mark Derby, published 22 Oct 2014