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Encyclopedia > Maori Wars

The term Māori Wars, now more commonly referred to as the New Zealand Wars, or sometimes The Land Wars, refers to a series of conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. They involved the original natives of New Zealand, the Māori, and the new European settlers, known as the Pakeha, who were assisted by hundreds, later thousands, of experienced British or Imperial troops. 1845 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1872 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Te Puni, Māori Chief Māori is the name of the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their language. ... Pakeha is a New Zealand English word for European New Zealanders, that is, New Zealanders of predominantly European descent. ... Imperial is a term that is used to describe something that relates to an Empire, Emperor, or the concept of Imperialism. ...


The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840, stated that the individual Māori tribes should have undisturbed possession of their lands, forests, fisheries and other taonga (treasures). Some early colonial land-sale deals had a dubious basis, to say the least, and the parties involved sometimes hurried them through before the signing of the treaty. To avoid such situations happening again, the newly-constituted British colonial authorities decreed that Māori could sell land only to the Government. However, many settlers did not appreciate that Māori owned land communally and that permission to settle on land did not always imply sale of that land. Under pressure from settlers the Colonial Government gradually ignored the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi and permitted settlers to settle in areas that had uncertain ownership. The Māori began resisting the alienation of their homelands to the British settlers: the whole process sowed the seeds of war. The Treaty of Waitangi (Māori: Te Tiriti o Waitangi) was signed on February 6, 1840 at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Taonga is the Maori word for a treasured thing, whether tangible or intangible. ...

Contents

The conflicts

The first skirmish of the Land Wars was the 1843 Wairau Affray at the north end of the South Island. It was an isolated incident caused by the Nelson settlers trying to seize land they didn't own, an extra-legal vigilante action that resulted in 22 of them being killed. 1843 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... In New Zealand history, the Wairau Affray on June 17, 1843, also known as the Wairau Massacre in most older texts, was the first serious clash of arms between the Maori natives and the British settlers after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. ... South Island The South Island forms one of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the North Island. ... The city of Nelson stands on the eastern side of Tasman Bay at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand. ...


The First Māori War, the Flagstaff War, took place in the far north of New Zealand, around the Bay of Islands, in March 1845 and January 1846. This was about mana—tribal prestige—and customs duties. It was really a war between rival Māori chiefs with the British fighting on one side for the prestige of the British Empire. The First Maori War, also known as the Flagstaff War was fought between 11 March 1845 and 11 January 1846, in and around the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. ... This article is about the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. ... 1845 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1846 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Mana refers to a supernatural force said to exist within all things, sometimes associated with maternal or lunar magic in mythology. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...


This was followed almost immediately by the Hutt Valley Campaign, March to August 1846, and the Wanganui Campaign, April to July 1847, in the south west of the North Island. Both of these conflicts were about the encroachment of the European settlers onto Māori land. The Hutt Valley Campaign of 1846 during the Maori Wars could almost be seen as a sequel to the Wairau Massacre. ... The Wanganui Campaign was centred on the settlement that eventually became the city of Wanganui, New Zealand, which was established in 1841. ... 1847 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... The North Island is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, the other being the South Island. ...


In the first three wars the Māori fought the British to a standstill each time. They had no wish to beat the British or to drive them from New Zealand. From the engagements emerged an understanding, British Law prevailed in the townships and settlements and Māori Law and Custom elsewhere. There followed a period of relative peace and economic cooperation from 1848 to 1860.


During this time European settlement accelerated and in about 1859 the number of Pakeha came to equal the number of Māori at around 60,000 each. By now the Pakeha had largely forgotten the painful lessons of the earlier conflicts. They tried to use military might to push through a very dubious land sale that one their own courts later repudiated. The result was the First Taranaki War. Once again the British military machine found itself more than evenly matched by the Māori and after 12 months both sides were happy to settle for a draw. 1859 is a common year starting on Saturday. ... Pakeha is a New Zealand English word for European New Zealanders, that is, New Zealanders of predominantly European descent. ... The Taranaki War is a conflict that took place between Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand from March 1860 to March 1861. ...


However this was clearly just a preliminary. The Pakeha were not prepared to countenance the Māori controlling and ruling most of the territory of the North Island. War broke out again in 1863 with the Invasion of the Waikato. The Waikato War, including the Tauranga Campaign, was the biggest of all the New Zealand Land Wars. The outcome of this war was the major confiscation of Māori land which quickly provoked the Second Taranaki War. By the mid-1860s the conflict had forced the closing of all the Native Schools. 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... The Invasion of the Waikato was an invasion during the Maori Wars fought in the North Island of New Zealand from July 1863 to April 1864 between the military forces of the Colonial Government and a federation of Maori tribes known as the King Movement (Kiingitanga). ... The Tauranga Campaign took place in New Zealand, from January 21, 1864 to June 21 1864, during the Maori Wars. ... The Second Taranaki War is the name of a series of conflicts between the Maori and European settlers in the Taranaki province of New Zealand between 1864 and 1866. ... In New Zealand, Native Schools were established to provide education for the Maori. ...


The period from the second half of 1864 until early 1868 was relatively quiet. Possibly the most notorious incident during this time was the murder of the missionary, Carl Volkner. There were also two serious intra-tribal conflicts, civil wars in Māori tribes, between adherents and non-adherents of the Pai Marire or Hau Hau sect—a vehemently anti-Pakeha religious group who were intent upon destabilizing the developing cooperation between the Māori and Pakeha. These are sometimes known as the East Cape War but that label oversimplifies a complicated series of conflicts. The Volkner Incident describes the murder of the missionary, Karl Volkner, in New Zealand in 1865 and the consequent reaction of the Government of New Zealand in the midst of the Maori Wars. ... Pai Marire / Hauhau The Pai Marire movement was the first independent, organised Maori church. ... The East Cape War, sometimes also called the East Coast War, refers to a series of conflicts that were fought in the North Island of New Zealand from about May 1865 to June 1868. ...


The last major conflicts were Te Kooti's War and Titokowaru's War. These were fought at the same time but were not related to each other and should be considered as separate conflicts. Te Kootis War was one of the Maori Wars, the series of conflicts fought between 1845 and 1872 between the Maori and the colonizing British Settlers, often referred to as Pakeha. ... Titokowarus War is a conflict that took place in the Taranaki Region of the North Island of New Zealand between Wanganui and Mount Taranaki from June 1868 to March 1869. ...


This virtually ended the major, violent, conflicts between the new colonial government and the original occupants of the land.


There were other conflicts and incidents, subsequently, that were a part of the overall conflict but are not usually seen in the context of the New Zealand Wars. The invasion of Parihaka in 1880 was certainly one of these. There was an incident in the 1890s that became known as the Dog Tax War. Another was the arrest of Rua Kenana in 1916. It is even possible that events at Bastion Point in the 1970s should be considered as part of the same scenario. Parihaka is a small community in Taranaki region, New Zealand, nestling half way between Mount Taranaki and the Tasman Sea. ... 1880 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... 1890 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Dog Tax war is described by some authors as the last gasp of the 19th century wars between the Maori and the Pakeha, the British settlers of New Zealand. ... 1916 is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar) Events January-February January 1 -The first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled. ... Events and trends Although in the United States and in many other Western societies the 1970s are often seen as a period of transition between the turbulent 1960s and the more conservative 1980s and 1990s, many of the trends that are associated widely with the Sixties, from the Sexual Revolution...


The legacy of the New Zealand—Māori—Wars continues, but these days the battles are mostly fought in the courtrooms and around the negotiation table. A number of major historical treaty claims have been settled since the 1980s, generally with a formal apology by the government, the exchange of money and return of Crown-owned land. (See: Waitangi Tribunal, Maori Land Court, Waitangi Treaty Claims and Grievances) Events and trends The 1980s marked an abrupt shift towards more conservative lifestyles after the momentous cultural revolutions which took place in the 1960s and 1970s and the definition of the AIDS virus in 1981. ... The Waitangi Tribunal is a New Zealand court empowered to compensate Maori people for land obtained by fraud or by force since 1840. ...


The protagonists

Sometime in 1859 the Europeans in New Zealand reached numerical parity with the Māori, at about 60,000 each. However neither population was stable. The Māori population was declining so fast that some people saw their extinction as a distinct possibility. Meanwhile immigrant ships were arriving from Britain on an, almost, weekly basis. As early as 1841 one Māori asked if the whole British tribe was moving to New Zealand. 1841 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...


There were other inequalities. The imperial troops were supplied and paid for by Britain and not by the fledging colony. So the Māori were fighting against the economic base of industrial Britain. The Māori, on the other hand, had an agrarian economy, their warriors were also their farmers and food gatherers. As such they were limited to periods of only two or three months campaigning each year before they had to return to their home base. They developed a system of rotating shifts for the longer conflicts but were never able to deploy their entire force. Agrarian has two meanings: It can mean pertaining to Agriculture It can also refer to the ideology of Agrarianism and Agrarian parties. ...


The Invasion of the Waikato was, by far, the largest conflict. The Colonial side mustered some 18,000 men, with a peak deployment of possibly 14,000. Opposing them were between four and five thousand Māori, of whom only about half were actively involved at any one time. The Invasion of the Waikato was an invasion during the Maori Wars fought in the North Island of New Zealand from July 1863 to April 1864 between the military forces of the Colonial Government and a federation of Maori tribes known as the King Movement (Kiingitanga). ...


None of the wars were simple two-sided conflicts. To some degree there were four sides to each war.


There were always Māori on both sides of the conflict—fighting for and against the British. In the Flagstaff War the Māori allies were wholly independent of the British command. Waka Nene was at war with Hone Heke. Indeed, the only really serious engagement of the war, the Battle of Waimate Pa where the two forces met and fought with determination, did not involve the British at all. Hone Wiremu Heke Pokai (?-August 6, 1850) was a Maori chief and war leader in New Zealand. ...


By the 1870s, in Te Kooti's War, there were Māori fighting as part of the Colonial Forces. The Ngati Porou formed their own regiment. In the latter stages—the hunt for Te Kooti through the Urewera Ranges—some incidents were once again Māori fighting Māori. Usually, though, the Māori fought as allies, not as subordinates. When their interests diverged from Pakeha interests they tended to go their own way.


The Māori were fighting the Pakeha. They too can be divided into two groups. One was the British imperial forces—the combined forces of the British Empire including Australians going overseas to war for the first time. The other was the various militia formed from the settlers, answerable to the New Zealand Government and not to London. (These units eventually evolved into the New Zealand Army). The first war was fought by imperial forces, probably assisted informally by a few settlers. The Taranaki War involved organized units of settler militia. The imperial government was increasingly reluctant to become involved in New Zealand Wars. To get their support for the Invasion of the Waikato, Governor George Grey had to present a false picture of the seriousness of the situation to the Colonial Office in London. What became known as the Second Taranaki War was basically the reaction of the Māori to the wholesale confiscation of their land by the colonial government who, originally, used imperial troops for this but the commander, General Duncan Cameron, resigned in protest. Shortly after this the last British troops were withdrawn from the country. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... A militia is a group of citizens organized to provide paramilitary service. ... Settlers are people who have travelled of their own choice, from the land of their birth to live in new lands or colonies. ... The New Zealand Army (or NZ Army) is the land armed force of the New Zealand military and comprises around 4,500 regular personnel and 2,500 non-regulars and civilians. ... Statue of Sir George Grey in Albert Park, Auckland Sir George Edward Grey KCB (April 14, 1812 - September 19, 1898) was a soldier, explorer, Governor of South Australia, twice Governor of New Zealand, Governor of Cape Colony (South Africa), Premier of New Zealand and a writer. ... The Second Taranaki War is the name of a series of conflicts between the Maori and European settlers in the Taranaki province of New Zealand between 1864 and 1866. ... General Sir Duncan Cameron was the Commander of the British Imperial Forces stationed in New Zealand during the middle phase of the Maori Wars. ...


There were a few Pakeha who fought for the Māori; not many but there always were some arrivals in New Zealand who identified completely with the Māori. They were know as Pakeha Māori, meaning strangers who have become Māori. Perhaps the most notorious was Kimble Bent who acted as Titokowaru's armourer and later became a noted tohunga (priest). Pākehā Māori is a term used to describe some early European settlers in New Zealand (known as Pākehā in the Māori Language) who lived among the Māori. ...


A group or category that is seldom mentioned and never considered in the histories is the half-castes, the people of mixed Māori and Pakeha descent of which there would have been several thousand in New Zealand at the time of the Wars. That is probably because then—as now—they did not constitute an identifiable, separate, group. They saw themselves as either Māori or Pakeha and chose their sides according to other criteria.


Strategy and tactics

The British Army were professional soldiers who had experienced fighting in various parts of the Empire, many from India and Afghanistan. They were led by officers who were, themselves, trained by men who fought at Waterloo. The Māori fighters were warriors from many generations of warrior—survivors of the Musket Wars, 20 years of bitter inter-tribal fighting. It has to be said that one of the reasons for the First Māori War was curiosity by the Māori warriors to see what kind of fighters these Pakeha soldiers were. Battle of Waterloo Conflict Napoleonic Wars Date June 18, 1815 Place Waterloo, Belgium Result Decisive Allied victory Map of the Waterloo campaign The Battle of Waterloo, fought on June 18, 1815, was Napoleon Bonapartes last battle. ... Musket Wars refers to battles in the early 1800s when there was deadly inter-tribal conflict between various groups of Maori, primarily on the North Island in New Zealand. ...


Both sides found their opponent's way of waging war totally incomprehensible. The British set out to fight a European-style war, one that had worked for them almost everywhere else in the world. When you find an enemy strongpoint or town you attack it. Your enemy feels obliged to defend the strongpoint. Either there is a battle or you besiege and then capture the strongpoint. Theoretically you win and the enemy loses. Conversely the Māori fought for mana and economic advantage—originally slaves and goods or control of lands—and for the challenge of a good battle. Mana refers to a supernatural force said to exist within all things, sometimes associated with maternal or lunar magic in mythology. ...


The first British action of the Flagstaff War was the capture and destruction of Pomare's Pa near Kororareka. This was a substantial Māori settlement so it seemed like a British victory but all the Māori warriors escaped with their arms so they didn't see it as defeat. Russell, formerly known as Kororareka, was the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand. ...


The British then set out to do the same to Kawiti's Pa at Puketapu. But this was not a residential settlement, it was a purpose-built strong point with only one objective; to invite attack by the British. It was several kilometres inland, across very difficult country—steep gullies, dense, bush clad hills and mud; thick, sticky, mud. Getting there was a major expedition. The British troops were already exhausted when they arrived in front of the Pa. The next day they tried a frontal attack and discovered that the bush and gullies they were advancing through and across were full of hostile warriors. Some of the British troops reached the palisade and discovered that attacking thick wooden walls with muskets was not effective. After several hours of costly, but indecisive skirmishing, the British withdrew. Fortunately their Māori allies were able to feed them and they were not attacked by their Māori enemies on the retreat back to the coast.


The attack on Puketapu Pa was typical of Māori-British warfare. The Māori would build a fortified Pa, sometimes provocatively close to a British fort or redoubt, and the British would feel they had to attack it. Their aim was always to bring the Māori to battle where they knew they could inflict a decisive defeat. In European warfare besieging an enemy fortress usually provoked a battle. However the Māori also knew that they would probably lose heavily in open conflict—indeed they did the few times it happened. Generally they were successful in avoiding it.


A Māori Pa was not the same as a European fortress but it took the British years to appreciate the difference—not until after the First World War. The word “Pa” meant a Māori village or community. They were always fortified and built with a view to defence, but primarily they were residential. Puketapu Pa and then Ohaeawai Pa were the first of the so-called “Modern Pa”. They were built to engage enemies armed with muskets and cannon. A strong wooden palisade was fronted with woven flax leaves (Phormium tenax) whose tough, stringy foliage took a lot of penetrating. The palisade was probably lifted a few centimetres from the ground so that muskets could be fired from underneath it rather than over the top. Sometimes there were apparent gaps in the pallisade that lead to killing traps. There were trenches and rifle pits to protect the occupants and, later, very effective bomb shelters. They were usually built so that they were almost impossible to surround completely but usually presented at least one exposed face to invite attack from that direction. They were cheap and easily built—the L-Pa at Waitara was built by 80 men overnight—and they were completely expendable. Time and again the British would mount an elaborate, often lengthy, expedition to besiege an annoying Pa which would absorb their bombardment and possibly one or two attacks and then be abandoned by the Māori. Shortly afterwards a new Pa would appear in another inaccessible site. Pa like this were built in their dozens particularly during the First Taranaki War where they eventually formed a cordon surrounding New Plymouth. Pa, Maori word meaning a fortified village or redoubt, described at length in Maori Wars. ... Missing image Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Binomial name Phormium tenax New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax), known as Harakeke by New Zealand Maori for many centuries, was and still is one of the most versatile plants on earth. ... Waitara is the name of a town and a river in the northern part of the Taranaki region of the North Island of New Zealand. ... The Taranaki War is a conflict that took place between Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand from March 1860 to March 1861. ... New Plymouth is the port and main city in the Taranaki region on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. ...


For a long time the modern Pa effectively neutralised the overwhelming disparity in numbers and armaments. At Ohaeawai Pa in 1845, at Rangiriri in 1864 and again at Gate Pa in 1864 the British and Colonial Forces discovered that frontal attacks on a defended Pa proved both ineffective and extremely costly. At Gate Pa during the Tauranga Campaign in 1864 the Māori withstood a day-long bombardment in their bomb shelters. One authority calculated that Gate Pa absorbed in one day a greater weight of explosives per square metre than did the German trenches in the week-long bombardment leading up to the Battle of the Somme. The palisade being destroyed, the British troops rushed the Pa whereupon the Māori fired on them from hidden trenches, killing 38 and injuring many more in the most costly battle for the Pakeha of the Maori Wars. The troops retired and the Maori then abandoned the Pa. The Battle of Ohaeawai occurred on 1 July 1845 North Island of New Zealand. ... The Tauranga Campaign took place in New Zealand, from January 21, 1864 to June 21 1864, during the Maori Wars. ... Battle of the Somme Conflict First World War Date 1 July 1916 – 18 November 1916 Place Somme, Picardy, France Result Stalemate The 1916 Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of the First World War, with more than one million casualties. ...


The British troops and then later the colonial forces never captured a completed and defended Pa but they did learn how to neutralise the problem. Although cheap and easy to build a modern Pa did require a significant input of labour and resources. By the wholesale destruction of the Māori economic base in the area around the Pa, causing the destruction of the tribal society, they were sometimes able to render them unaffordable. This was the reasoning behind the bush-scouring expeditions of Chute and McDonnell in the Second Taranaki War. The Second Taranaki War is the name of a series of conflicts between the Maori and European settlers in the Taranaki province of New Zealand between 1864 and 1866. ...


The biggest problem for Māori, however, was that their society was ill-adapted to supporting a sustained campaign. The Māori warrior was a civilian part-time fighter who could not afford to be away from home for too long. The British force consisted of professional soldiers supported by an economic system capable of sustaining them in the field almost indefinitely. While the British found it difficult to defeat the Māori in battle, they were able to outlast them in war.


The two final Māori Wars, those of Te Kooti and Titokowaru, present an interesting contrast. Titokowaru used the Pa system to devastating effect, at one stage the New Zealand Government thought they had lost the war: see Titokowaru's War. Te Kooti, on the other hand, functioned well as guerilla leader but showed little or no skill in fighting from a fixed position. He had ill-built Pa, inadequately supplied; and he held on to them for too long. Te Kooti's War ended due to his defeat at Nga Tapa and Te Porere. Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (c. ... Riwha Titokowaru (c. ... Titokowarus War is a conflict that took place in the Taranaki Region of the North Island of New Zealand between Wanganui and Mount Taranaki from June 1868 to March 1869. ... Te Kootis War was one of the Maori Wars, the series of conflicts fought between 1845 and 1872 between the Maori and the colonizing British Settlers, often referred to as Pakeha. ...


Further reading

  • Barthorp, Michael (1979). To face the daring Māori. Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Belich, James (1988). The New Zealand wars. Penguin.
  • Belich, James (1996) Making peoples. Penguin Press.
  • Binney, Judith (1995). Redemption songs: A life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Auckland: Auckland University Press.
  • Buick, T.L. (1976). Old Marlborough. Christchurch: Capper Press. (Originally published in 1900)
  • Cowan, J., & Hasselberg, P. D. (1983) The New Zealand wars. New Zealand Government Printer. (Originally published 1922)
  • Lee, Jack (1983). I have named it the Bay of Islands. Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Lee, Jack (1987). Hokianga. Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Maning, F.E. (1862). A history of the war in the north of New Zealand against the chief Heke. (A near-contemporaneous account, although written primarily with an aim to entertain rather than with an eye to historical accuracy)
  • Maxwell, Peter (2000). Frontier, the battle for the North Island of New Zealand. Celebrity Books.
  • Simpson, Tony (1979). Te Riri Pakeha. Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Sinclair, Keith (ed.) (1996). The Oxford illustrated history of New Zealand (2nd ed.) Wellington: Oxford University Press.
  • Stowers, Richard (1996). Forest rangers. Richard Stowers.
  • Vaggioli, Dom Felici (2000). History of New Zealand and its inhabitants, Translated by J. Crockett. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. Original Italian publication, 1896.
  • "The people of many peaks: The Māori biographies". (1990). From The dictionary of New Zealand biography, Vol. 1, 1769-1869. Bridget Williams Books and Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand.

James Belich is a New Zealand historian known for his work on the Maori Wars. ... Frederick Edward Maning (July 5, 1812 - July 25, 1883) was a notable early settler in New Zealand, a writer and judge of the Native Land Court. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Talk:New Zealand land wars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1330 words)
There was an undoubted enthusiasm for war and battle within the culture, a glorification of combat which was not unique to maori and which the British of the time also shared.
The First Maori War I have redirected to stand as an article in its own right as perhaps should the accounts of the other NZ wars if and when their articles appear appear.
In the latter wars the majority of the fighting was done by Maori fighting on behalf of themselves and the NZ Government.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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