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The printing press poster and other lessons: printing in Rarotonga in 1849 and the Mission Press

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Image: Pepa 10, Grey Pamphlets, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections “This is an announcement about the printing press. In ancient times these things were not familiar, and could only be written on parchment (skin of sheep). Then there was the printing press, in Britain in the year 1449. That was 400 years ago from then up to the present time”. This is a translation of the words on the poster shown above, printed in Rarotonga in 1849. It is a well-designed page including an ornament of a printing press which might have caused a stir, almost like a poster announcing the circus coming to town. For further context we can read about the arrival of the printing press in Rarotonga, and with it, literacy and the distribution of the Word of God, in the words of the London Missionary Society missionary, the Reverend Aaron Buzacott (1800 – 1864). His ‘Mission Life in the Pacific’ was published in 1866 and then reprinted as a facsimile edition in 1985. The chapter headings include details of