Introduction / History The Rukai are an Austronesian minority of rural southern Taiwan. Traditionally, the Rukai were a hunting and farming society. Since the 1950s the Rukai have increasingly integrated into Taiwan society. Migration of Rukai to the cities of Taiwan mirrors the Taiwan business cycle. When there is an economic downturn, Rukai return to their homeland area to farm. Since Taiwan's admission to the WTO in 2002, farming is no longer a viable option.
The Rukai were first evangelized by Taiwanese pastors in the 1950s and 1960s. At present there are roughly 25 churches in Rukai villages and more than 80% of Rukai claim affiliation with a church. The Rukai New Testament translation began in 1988 under the auspices of the Bible Society of the ROC (Taiwan) and the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. The New Testament was published in 2001 and is in use in 3 of the 6 Rukai dialect areas. The 3 dialects spoken in Maolin Township, Kaohsiung County are significantly divergent from the translation's target dialect for the translation. Maolin Township Rukai do not use the translated New Testament, but except for a few elderly individuals township residents are proficient enough in Mandarin to benefit from an existing Chinese translation of the Scriptures. It is likely that most Rukai outside of Maolin Township also possess sufficient proficiency in Mandarin to benefit from the Chinese Bible.