Rare book at As­cot Park

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By TIM DONOGHUE

It cost just $10 on Trade Me, but to Ten­gaepu o te Rangi Tararo it’s a book worth much more than that.

It’s a ver­sion of John Bun­yan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, writ­ten in Cook Is­lands Maori and pub­lished in Eng­land in 1892 for use in Sun­day schools and re­li­gious classes. ‘‘It’s price­less. ‘‘It’s part of our his­tory. ‘‘I’m de­lighted by it,’’ he said, after daugh­ter Dorothy Hosking pre­sented it to him.

She found it on the auc­tion web­site.

Hosking had it re­stored by Akatarawa book­binder Bill Tito, who also said the book was re­mark­able.

‘‘It’s the first time I’ve seen any­thing like this in the Cook Is­lands lan­guage,’’ Tito said.

‘‘It’s nice to be able to re­store a book like this. There’s a real good feel fac­tor about it.’’

Te Tere o te Tuitarere was pub­lished by the Re­li­gious Tract So­ci­ety, in con­junc­tion with the London Mis­sion­ary So­ci­ety, for dis­tri­bu­tion through­out the Cook Is­lands.

The Pilgrim’s Progress was first pub­lished in 1678, and was be­gun while Bun­yan was in jail for breaches of re­li­gious law.

It has been trans­lated into more than 200 lan­guages.

Tararo, of As­cot Park, was born on the is­land of Mauke in the Cook Is­lands in 1931.

He said that as a Pres­by­te­rian he did not get to spend too much time at Sun­day school in his youth.

‘‘I only had three years at school. I was not well in my younger days,’’ Tararo said. ‘‘We had no doc­tors on Mauke and a lot of my gen­er­a­tion died young be­cause of it.’’

When he ar­rived in New Zealand in 1961, he left about 1000 peo­ple liv­ing on Mauke.

‘‘ There’s only about 300 there now,’’ he said.

Read­ing the un­usual book in his own lan­guage had forced him to think about the is­land life he re­luc­tantly left be­hind all those years ago.

He wants his daugh­ter to make the decision about what even­tu­ally hap­pens to the book.

‘‘She gave it to me, so I’ll leave it to her to see whether it stays in the fam­ily.’’

Photo: MAARTEN HOLL

Re­mark­able progress: Ten­gaepu o te Rangi Tararo with his Cook Is­lands ver­sion of The Pilgrim’s Progress, pub­lished in 1892.

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