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First Text in Te Reo

Episode:113Te Papa Collection:History

Suggested curriculum levels:2 – 6

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Social Sciences: Identity, Culture, and Organisation Continuity and Change

Description:Today almost anyone can send a text message or print a document just by pressing some keys or touching a screen. It wasn't always that easy – and the tools used were not things you'd carry in your pocket! The first book printed in New Zealand, in 1834, required a massive iron machine and many hours of labour.

Questions for students

  1. What was the history of the first printing press in New Zealand? Why was it brought here?
  2. Why did the first book ever printed in New Zealand use te reo Māori? What was especially unusual about this?
  3. Why do you think Māori were said to have 'a hunger for books'? What is the evidence for this?
  4. Explain the process of printing with the early presses. How is it different from modern printing? Use the 'Comparisons' response template to compare old and new processes and machinery for printing.
  5. The curator explains that despite the heavy iron parts of the printing press, the big lever that makes the impression was quite light. Use what you know about levers to explain how this could be.

Related templates: