More than 10 years of work ended on Tuesday, February 4, when boxes of the Nukumanu New Testament arrived safely on Tasman Island. It was cause for great celebration by everyone who had been involved in the process of translation. For Edmond Teppuri, the main translator, it was the culmination of many years of sacrificial work. Edmond was there to welcome the three special visitors who had come from the US, Guam and the PNG Highlands, traveling two days in an open boat from Buka when the government ship was postponed.
Upon arrival Monday afternoon, the visitors were met on the beach by the entire Nukumanu community. They were then led to the Anglican Church where the church choir sang, followed by a welcome speech from Chief David. He called it a historic day, not only for the arrival of the New Testaments, but also because a banana boat had made the two-day journey all the way from Buka.
Early on Tuesday morning a special Dedication service took place at the Anglican Church. Four young women, festively dressed in local style with turmeric covering their bodies, carried a model of an outrigger decorated with flowers and with copies of the New Testament resting inside. It was a reminder of the way that the New Testaments arrived by sea. After a solemn service of dedication outside the church, participants from both the Anglican and United Churches on the island joined together for a Communion service. During the service the New Testament readings were done for the first time in the Nukumanu language.
The church service was followed by a special program with speeches and the official hand-over of the New Testaments to local dignitaries. Then it was time to celebrate with feasting and dancing by various local groups. It was a day to remember when the Nukumanu New Testaments finally arrived home.