Story: English language in New Zealand

Letter by William Colenso, 1851

Printer and missionary William Colenso was one of the first colonists to use te reo Māori fluently. His facility with the language and his habit of including Māori words in a predominantly English vocabulary are evident in his letters. In this excerpt from an 1851 letter to Donald McLean, he uses wakamahau (verandah), (fortified settlement) and kai (food).

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: MS-Papers-0032-0221, 1 August 1851, p.2

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.

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How to cite this page:

Dianne Bardsley, 'English language in New Zealand - Words from the Māori language', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 7 July 2022)

Story by Dianne Bardsley, published 5 Sep 2013