Edmond Teppuri’s trip to Lord Howe

(March 2016) Recently Edmond Teppuri, a member of Isles of the Sea, visited Lord Howe island to discuss translation of the Old Testament. Edmond has finished the New Testament in his own language, Nukumanu (PNG), which is closely related to Lord Howe. He is now on a training track to become an advisor for related Polynesian languages. His report on his meeting with the Lord Howe community and church leaders provides interesting details about building community support for Bible translation.
“The chiefs of Luaniua (one of the islands that make up Lord Howe) responded very positively with their interest and were so eager to have the project going anytime soon. I really had a good time with them. The 3 chiefs of Luaniua namely: Chief Patrick Hamango, Peter Kalali, and Chief Willie who was represented by his son Hugo Kahango were present plus the chairman of the church Alfred Ahiu and two Anglican priests Fr Martin Aimeo and Fr Nehemiah Muliava. They all shared their opinions and views with great interest. They will be holding a general meeting with the community to discuss the agenda. They want to translate the OT and at the same time revise the NT so that both can be published at the same time as one book.
One question was raised on who will pay the translators? Before I answered their question I told them we need to get something straight first and that is: Who owns the project. I explained to them that they are the owners of the project. I made that very clear to them and they got the point. Then I told them that since they are the owners of the project, it is entirely up to them, that is if they want their translators to get paid they have to raise funds and manage their own funds. They also need to choose a translation committee that can steer the project. I also told them that it is not the responsibility of the organization to pay their translators. They were also happy with my answer. The other thing that really moved me of their interest is: they said that if I go to Pelau (another island that is part of the Lord Howe atoll) and they show no interest, that won’t stop them. They are prepared to continue the project with or without the Pelau people.
I am truly happy with the response of the Luaniua chiefs and was also glad I made it out to the island. Right now the main thing is to treat my sunburn. My face, hands, back and thighs are badly burned.”