The New Zealand Wars

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Cannon destroyed during the battle at Ruapekapeka, 1845
The New Zealand Wars is the name given to a collection of conflicts between Maori and Pakeha during the period 1845-1916. Conflicts began almost as soon as the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. The Wairau Affray took place only three years after the signing.

The capture of Rua Kenana on April 2nd 1916 is generally seen as the end of the New Zealand Wars, although Maori resistance to European sovereignty continues to the present day. The New Zealand Wars have been variously described as 'The Maori Wars' and 'The Land Wars' but the present-day name is generally regarded as bein most accurate because the conflicts were essentially over sovereignty of the country.

The Wairau Affray 1843

Fort Arthur, Nelson in 1843

Ngati Toa rangatiri Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata asserted that their people owned land settlers were attempting to take possession of at Wairau near Nelson. On 17th June 1843, settlers unwisely attempted to arrest Te Rauparaha and fighting broke out. Twenty-two settlers were killed, while Ngati Toa lost four men. No further conflicts took place until the Northern Wars at the other end of the country, largely because the settlers lacked the resources to mount any kind of campaign against Maori. The Wairau Affray (which used to be called the Wairau Massacre) has the distinction of being the first mortal conflict in what has come to be known as the New Zealand Wars.

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The New Zealand Wars, by James Belich. Auckland University Press, 1986. ISBN 9780140275049
I Shall Not Die James Belich
Redemption Songs Judith Binney
The New Zealand Wars James Cowan. R.E Owen, 1923
Landscapes of Conflict Nigel Prickett, Random House, 2002, ISBN 1869415426


Notes and references