new zealand wars

Events In History

Articles

Maori King movement - 1860-94

  • Page 1 – Troubled times

    Discover why the King movement so threatened the British Crown. King Tawhiao's reign from 1860 was dominated by the Waikato War and its painful aftermath.

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  • Page 2 – Build up to war

    Like his father, King Tāwhiao opposed the war in Taranaki. The government, however, remained unconvinced. In July 1860 Governor Gore Browne sought to isolate the Kīngitanga and

  • Page 3 – Response to war

    The invasion of the Waikato united the various factions within the Kīngitanga, and during the war Kīngitanga forces had some victories despite being overwhelmed in terms of

New Zealand's 19th-century wars

Pai Marire

  • Page 1 – Pai Mārire

    Pai Marire (goodness and peace) was one of several Maori Christian faiths to emerge in the 19th century. Like many others, it was closely tied to issues of land and politics

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  • Page 2 – Te Ua Haumēne

    Pai Marire disciples travelled around the North Island in the mid-1860s. Against a backdrop of war and land confiscations, the founding principle of Pai Marire was often

  • Page 3 – The death of Carl Völkner

    The ritual killing by Pai Mārire followers of missionary Carl Völkner in 1865 shocked many people. The government used the event as a reason to take harsh action against Pai

War in Wellington

  • Page 1 – War in Wellington

    In 1846 fighting broke out in the Wellington region as the Ngāti Toa chief Te Rangihaeata backed local Maori opposed to European settlement in the Hutt Valley. The campaign

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  • Page 2 – The Port Nicholson purchase

    In September 1839 William Wakefield, the principal agent for the New Zealand Company, met Te Ātiawa chiefs Te Puni and Te Wharepōuri at Pito-one (Petone), on the northern shore

War in Whanganui

  • Page 1 – War in Whanganui

    The confusion and uncertainty that had surrounded the New Zealand Company's land purchases in Whanganui erupted into violence in the autumn and winter of 1847. The conflict

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  • Page 2 – Background

    From the outset there was confusion and uncertainty over the exact nature and extent of the New Zealand Company's purchase at Whanganui.

  • Page 3 – The Matarawa killings

    The killing of Mary Gilfillan and three of her children caused tension between upriver and downriver Māori as well as among Europeans.

  • Page 4 – The siege of Whanganui

    Te Mamaku led 700 Ngāti Hāua-te-rangi warriors who attacked Whanganui in May 1847.

  • Page 5 – Moutoa Island

    The Pai Mārire religion divided Māori. Some supported it, but others mistrusted its political intent. Events on the Whanganui River in 1864 showed the conflict about the faith

  • Page 6 – The 1865 campaign

    Following the battle of Moutoa Island in 1864, Hipango pursued the retreating Pai Mārire (Hauhau) warriors. Fighting continued from fortified positions upriver near Hiruhārama

War in Taranaki 1860-63

  • Page 1 – War in Taranaki 1860-63

    In March 1860 war broke out between Europeans and Māori in Taranaki following a dispute over the sale of land at Waitara. It was the beginning of a series of conflicts that

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  • Page 2 – Pressure on Māori land

    As the non-Māori population of New Zealand grew during the 1850s, Māori faced more pressure to sell their land to these new settlers.

  • Page 3 – The Waitara offer

    Wiremu Kingi's opposition to the Crown's attempts to purchase land near the mouth of the Waitara River in north Taranaki in 1859 led to the outbreak of war in March 1860

  • Page 4 – Fighting begins

    The opening shots of the Taranaki war were fired at Kīngi's new pā, Te Kohia – also known as the ‘L’ pa because of its shape – on 17 March 1860.

  • Page 5 – Puketakauere

    On 27 June 1860 the British suffered a heavy defeat near Waitara. The Te Atiawa chief Hapurona had strengthened defences on the twin pa sites of Puketakauere and Onukukaitara,

  • Page 6 – A change in tactics

    The arrival in August 1860 of Major-General Thomas Pratt heralded the development of a new strategy to break the cordon that encircled New Plymouth.

  • Page 7 – Stalemate

    After a year of war, Governor Gore Browne still saw little likelihood of victory in the near future. A truce was arranged on 18 March 1861.

  • Page 8 – The second Taranaki war

    On 12 March 1863, 300 men of the 57th Regiment evicted Maori from the land they had occupied at Tataraimaka, 20 km south-west of New Plymouth.

New Zealand Wars memorials

War in Waikato

  • Page 1 – War in Waikato

    After fighting broke out again in Taranaki in early 1863, Governor George Grey turned his attention to the region he saw as the root of his problems with Māori: Waikato. This

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  • Page 2 – Invasion plans

    Governor Gore Browne demanded that the Kīngitanga submit ‘without reserve’ to the British Queen and began planning an invasion of Waikato shortly before his reassignment to

  • Page 3 – The opening phase

    The British invasion of Waikato began on 12 July 1863. The first line of defence was at Meremere. After this was bypassed, Rangiriri and Pāterangi provided a second and then a

  • Page 4 – Rangiriri

    The decisive battle for Waikato was fought at Rangiriri in November 1863.

  • Page 5 – The invasion continues

    After the British victory at Rangiriri, Wiremu Tāmihana tried to negotiate peace. He sent his greenstone mere (club) to Cameron as a token of his good faith. But neither Grey

  • Page 6 – The Battle of Ōrākau

    James Belich argues that the British victory at Ōrākau was also their ‘cruellest disappointment of the entire war.’ Chris Pugsley, on the other hand, sees Ōrākau as the ‘

War in Tauranga

  • Page 1 – War in Tauranga

    During the first half of 1864 the focus of the New Zealand Wars shifted from Waikato to Tauranga. In this phase of the conflict British forces suffered a catastrophic defeat at

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  • Page 2 – Invitation to war

    The Ngāi Te Rangi leader Rāwiri Puhirake had resisted Wiremu Tāmihana’s request for help during the war in Waikato for fear that this would lead to bloodshed in Tauranga. The

  • Page 3 – Gate Pā

    Gate Pā was a major disaster for the British military who suffered twice the casualties of the Māori defenders

  • Page 4 – British soul searching

    British soul-searching after the defeat at Gate Pā did not begin with an acknowledgement of the superior tactics and capability of their enemy.

  • Page 5 – Te Ranga

    Unlike at Gate Pā, where the British assault had been concentrated at two points, at Te Ranga the British were able to attack all along the line of trenches.

  • Page 6 – The fighting ends

    By the end of July the Tauranga war was over. Most Ngāi Te Rangi warriors accepted peace and handed over weapons, although many of these were old and of such poor quality as to

Te Kooti's war

  • Page 1 – Te Kooti's war

    Te Kooti was one of the most significant Māori leaders of the 19th century. For nearly four years he waged a guerrilla war unlike any previous conflict in the New Zealand Wars

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  • Page 2 – Clashes of faith

    A civil war erupted on the East Coast in the winter of 1865 when Hauhau evangelists ignored a warning not to enter Ngāti Porou territory.

  • Page 3 – Exile and deliverance

    Chatham Island would be home for Te Kooti and his fellow prisoners for two years from 1866.

  • Page 4 – Te Kooti's war begins

    In July 1868 Major Reginald Biggs sent three Māori emissaries to Whareongaonga. Te Kooti and his followers were told to surrender all their weapons and ‘await the decision of

  • Page 5 – Matawhero

    Shortly before midnight on 9 November 1868 Te Kooti and around 100 men moved on Matawhero. By dawn nearly 60 people from Matawhero and the adjacent kāinga had been killed.

  • Page 6 – Ngātapa

    An attack by a combined Ngāti Porou-government force saw Te Kooti retreat inland to the ancient hilltop pā of Ngātapa.

  • Page 7 – Te Kooti goes to Te Kūiti

    Te Kooti was invited to the King Country only if he came in peace. He responded defiantly that he was coming to ‘assume himself the supreme authority which he coming direct

  • Page 8 – Te Pōrere and retreat

    On 25 September Te Kooti was defeated by a combined force of Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa and Ngāti Tūwharetoa at Te Ponanga, near Tokaanu.

  • Page 9 – A Māori matter

    Te Kooti's final decades

Tītokowaru's war

  • Page 1 – Tītokowaru's war

    In the 1980s James Belich argued that Tītokowaru’s war had become a ‘dark secret’ of New Zealand history, ‘forgotten by the Pākehā as a child forgets a nightmare’. For Belich,

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  • Page 2 – Early years

    Tītokowaru’s commitment to missionary Christianity was showing signs of strain by the 1850s as a Māori nationalist movement emerged.

  • Page 3 – The year of the lamb

    Tītokowaru proclaimed 1867 as ‘the year of the daughters … the year of the lamb’. His efforts for ‘reconciliation and peace’ were quite remarkable, given the events of the

  • Page 4 – The war begins

    In March 1868 Tītokowaru authorised a muru (punitive plunder) against Pākehā involved in the confiscation of land at Ketemarae (Normanby).

  • Page 5 – Turuturumōkai

    In the pre-dawn darkness on Sunday 12 July 1868, 60 of Tītokowaru’s warriors led by Haowhenua bypassed the large colonial force at Waihī Redoubt and struck at nearby

  • Page 6 – Crisis of confidence

    News of Te Kooti’s assault on Matawhero in Poverty Bay a few days after the defeat at Moturoa raised serious questions about the Armed Constabulary’s ability to protect

  • Page 7 – Taurangaika

    Taurangaika measured 140 m across at its widest point and was without doubt Tītokowaru’s ‘most formidable fortress’.

  • Page 8 – A return to peace

    In late 1869 Tītokowaru had his third conversion to peace, after which his relationship with Te Whiti and Tohu Kākahi of Parihaka strengthened.

A history of New Zealand 1769-1914

The Treaty in practice

  • Page 2 – Slide to war

    War raged in the North Island in the mid-19th century. The period from 1860, when conflict broke out in Taranaki, through to about 1872, is commonly called the New Zealand Wars

  • Page 8 – The Waikato-Tainui claim

    The Waikato-Tainui people and the Crown signed a Deed of Settlement in 1995. It included a formal apology for Crown actions in the wars of the 1860s that had brought

Treaty timeline

The Vogel era

War and remembrance

Biographies

  • Maniapoto, Rewi Manga

    A famous Ngāti Maniapoto warrior, leader and supporter of the King Movement who's exploits in the Waikato War have been immortalised in book and film.

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  • Matua, Hēnare

    Ngāti Kahungunu chief Hēnare Matua was leader of the repudiation movement, which questioned land sales that it believed had been undertaken fraudulently.

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  • Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki

    Te Kooti fought for the government in the New Zealand Wars before being exiled to the Chatham Islands on charges of espionage. He later escaped back to the main land where he fought a long guerilla war against government forces.

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  • Te Rangitake

    Te Ati Awa leader Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke's refusal to give up his land at Waitara led to the outbreak of the Taranaki War. In later life joined the pacifist community at Parihaka.

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  • Te Whiti-o-Rongomai III, Erueti

    Te Whiti was a Taranaki leader and prophet. A resistance movement based at Parihaka was led by him and Tohu Kākahi. Te Whiti was arrested following the infamous raid on Parihaka by Armed Constabulary in 1881.

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  • Titokowaru, Riwha

    Ngā Ruahine prophet, military leader, master tactician, peacemaker and Parihaka supporter, Tītokowaru was one of New Zealand's most important nineteenth-century figures.

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  • Wahawaha, Rāpata

    Ngāti Porou leader Rāpata Wahawaha opposed the Pai Mārire religion and sided with the government against its followers. He was later presented with a ceremonial sword by Queen Victoria for services to the Crown during the New Zealand Wars.

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  • Browne, Thomas Robert Gore

    Biography of Colonial Governor and Soldier, Thomas Gore Browne

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  • Mair, Gilbert

    Served with distinction during the New Zealand Wars. Played a leading role in campaigns against Te Kooti, commanding an irregular contingent of loyalist Māori known as the Arawa Flying Column.

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  • Richmond, James Crowe

    James Crowe Richmond, elected member of Parliament in 1860, believed it vital to defeat Māori opposition to European settlement. 

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  • Whitaker, Frederick

    Despite Frederick Whitaker’s advanced views on electoral reform, this two-time premier tarnished his reputation by land speculation and confiscation.

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  • Cowan, James

    Biography of prolific historian and journalist best known for the two-volume The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Māori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period

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  • Cameron, Duncan Alexander

    The historian James Belich believed Cameron was not only the best European commander to serve in New Zealand but ‘among the best of Victorian generals’.

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  • Whitmore, George Stoddart

    From 1866 George Whitmore became substantively involved in the New Zealand wars, leading the colonial forces in no fewer than seven distinct campaigns against an incursive Hauhau force, Te Kooti and Titokowaru’s forces.

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  • Tempsky, Gustavus Ferdinand von

    Although he spent only six years in this country, the adventurous soldier Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky was one of 19th-century New Zealand's most colourful characters.

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  • Williams, William

    An early missionary and linguist, William Williams later came to criticise the government's dealings during the New Zealand Wars.

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Related keywords

  • Main image: Gustavus von Tempsky

    Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky in the uniform of the Armed Constabulary, circa 1868.

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