William Colenso

Transplanting Colenso: Taxonomy and Translocation in Leicester Kyle’s Koroneho: Joyful News Out of the New Found World

‘Language adheres to the soil, when the lips which spoke it are resolved into dust,’ wrote William Colenso in 1868, and again in 1883. ‘Mountains repeat, and rivers murmur, the voices of nations denationalized or extirpated in their own land.’ The 19th century New Zealand missionary, printer, explorer, and naturalist was conscious of massive, irrevocable changes to the botanical and human ecologies of New Zealand occurring as he wrote; it’s apparent that he was also conscious of the role of language in defining these systems and the encounter between them.

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