News Release

Church Publishes 1928 Māori Hymnal on

To celebrate Māori Language Week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published 134 hymns from the Māori hymnal, Ngā Hīmene Hunga Tapu, on today. 

Speaking at a devotional meeting last night in Hamilton to announce the online publication of the hymns, Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Church's Pacific Area Presidency, said, "We are very happy to provide this valuable resource to individuals and families. We want to make the hymns available to as many people as possible.”   

“I have been so moved by the Spirit that has been present here with us and for the proceedings of this evening and the speakers who have spoken to us and for the tenderness I feel amongst you," he said. 

"This wonderful collection of hymns goes back to your eternal connection to the missionaries who served here from America and other places. I extend my gratitude to those missionaries who served in the early years of the New Zealand mission and for their love for you and the people of the Māori .”

Elder Haleck thanked the early missionaries and all those involved in the process of sharing "these wonderful hymns, as evidenced this evening, so rich in history, and tradition and love for the people.”

He added, “The online book is for families and individuals to more appreciate the language and the rhythm that it brings to spiritual lives of those of you who are Māori and from this land. I acknowledge that music has a direct correlation and relationship to our worship of the Saviour."

Elder Haleck suggested that young missionaries today could be taught "a little bit about how these hymns should be sung so they can appreciate that part of the worship of any Polynesian is not only worshipping in prayer and in the sermons that we hear, but most importantly in the music that we sing.”

Elder Haleck noted the signifance of family, music, worship and the Sabbath. 

“Today is a proper day to do this also because it is the Sabbath. What better way to delight in the Sabbath than to be here gathered to celebrate the return of this wonderful hymn book that will be treasured by so many families," he said.

Latter-day Saint director of public affairs, Vicki Lee Wihongi, hosted the evening at the Church's Visitors' Centre in Temple View, on the outskirts of Hamilton. 

She said, "Singing those old hymns really connects us to our ancestors. Our thoughts, hearts and spirits go directly to our grandparents and to our aunties and uncles and to the missionaries who loved them so well.”

Among other guests at last night's meeting were Elder David J. Thomson, Pacific Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; President Charles A. Rudd and Sister Annette Lancaster Rudd, New Zealand Hamilton Mission; Marama Fox MP, Co-Leader of the Māori Party; and Michelle Hippolite, Chief Executive, Te Puni Kokiri. 

Marama Fox MP, told guests, “Music for me has always been a strong part of my life." 

"These songs," she said, "truly do lift my soul."

"When we put the hymns of Ngā Hīmene Hunga Tapu on the Internet we will be able to remember and spread these beautiful hymns of our ancestors. It’s about being connected. It connects us to our past in order to inform our present so that we can be ready for our future.”

In her remarks, Michelle Hippolite said, “Tomorrow commemorates 40 years since the Maori Language Week started. I want to acknowledge the Church leaders who saw it fit that the time has arrived to make this amazing resource available to us, and to those around the world.”

Mrs Hippolite added that "finding resources that express the spirit of the people of the land is something that is treasured.”

She said she was “grateful for the place of music to help convey the spirit of what Heavenly Father wants us to learn, but also to what’s important to our hearts. I know this book will help us sing from the soul."

The original Ngā Hīmene Hunga Tapu hymnal was published in 1928 by A. Reed Halverson, an American Latter-day Saint missionary who served as a mission president in New Zealand in the 1920’s and again in the 1940’s.

“As a church we support our Māori members and others who love sacred music and the Māori language,” Elder Haleck said. "We hope that singing, playing and sharing these uplifting songs will bring a sweet spirit of worship, love, gratitude and peace into many hearts."

Elder Haleck continued: “Māori are a vital part of the history and growing strength of the Church in New Zealand."

Māori were some of the first in New Zealand to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when missionaries arrived in the mid 1800s. Many early Mormon missionaries learned to speak the Māori language.  

"Our congregations are vibrant and full of life," Elder Haleck says. "They are culturally and ethnically diverse, which we love.

"Amidst this diversity, we strive to nurture spiritual unity. These hymns will contribute towards that goal."

Elder Maurice Melligan, a missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the leader of the Ngā Hīmene Hunga Tapu online project.

He said, "This book has been worked on since the 1900’s by missionaries and others. Now, 87 years since the book was published in 1928, it is available for the world to see."

He thanked "the pioneers who worked on this book," for bringing the hymns "to people all over the world who are interested in the Māori language and the rich resource that this book is.” 

Elder Melligan explained that the book is available on the Internet in two different formats. "One is a plain version and the other a scan of the actual 1928 book.”

The hymns are available at


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