In the period between the first European landings and the First World War, New Zealand was transformed from an exclusively Māori world into one in which Pākehā dominated numerically, politically, socially and economically.
The Native Land Court was one of the key products of the 1865 Native Lands Act. It converted traditional communal landholdings into individual titles, making it easier for Pākehā to purchase Māori land.
Henry Williams (1792-1864) was a former Royal Navy lieutenant who served in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1823, as an Anglican priest, he was appointed to head CMS's mission in New Zealand. Under his forceful personality, the mission was highly successful, influencing several thousand Maori to convert and spreading its influence through much of the North Island. By the late 1830s, Williams and most missionaries actively supported British annexation, believing it necessary to protect Maori from lawless Europeans.
William Spain was born in England in 1803 and trained in the law. In 1841 he became a Land Claims Commissioner in New Zealand. His task was to investigate the New Zealand Company's claims that it had purchased a total of some 20 million acres (8 million hectares) in 1839. Even though most of these purchases were hotly disputed by Maori, hundreds of settlers had arrived to take up the land.
An experienced soldier, Bunbury (1791-1861) had fought in the Napoleonic Wars and, in the 1830s, was commandant of Norfolk Island. In March 1840, he was instructed by Governor Gipps to come to New Zealand with 100 men of his 80th Regiment to back up Hobson and, given Hobson's failing health, take over the Lieutenant-Governorship if necessary.
After a lengthy Royal Navy career in which he saw action in the Napoleonic Wars and was twice captured by pirates in the Caribbean, William Hobson (1792-1842) became New Zealand's first Governor. Governor Bourke had already sent him to New Zealand in 1838, and his report so impressed Lord Glenelg that when he decided, in December 1838, to appoint a Consul to New Zealand, he offered the post to Hobson.
New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was prepared over just a few days in February 1840. Several versions of the Treaty were taken around the country for signing. Find out how the Treaty came to be drafted and locate the signing places of the different copies.
A leading Ngā Puhi chief, Nene was an early friend of Pākehā and one of the Wesleyan missionaries' first converts, taking the baptismal name of Thomas Walker (Tāmati Waka). He protected the Anglican and Wesleyan missionaries and also greatly assisted the British Resident, James Busby.