Classroom ideas - Maori leadership in the 19th century

This page outlines how the feature on the Origins of the Maori King movement could be used by teachers and students of history who are examining 19th century Maori leadership. Additional material on NZHistory.net.nz to support a study of Maori leadership includes:

  • Troubled times: the Maori King movement 1860–94 This feature examines the British decision to invade the Waikato and the King movement's response to this action.
  • Pai Marire This feature looks at another form of Maori leadership that emerged in response to British colonisation.
  • Pre-1840 contact This looks at relations between Maori and Europeans in the years before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and provides useful background information to the British colonisation of New Zealand.
  • New Zealand's 19th-century wars This considers some of the consequences of British colonisation.

Students will find these summaries will assist them with revision.

The Kingitanga

The Kingitanga, or Maori King movement, is an important and enduring expression of Maori unity. The Maori King, Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, can trace his position as king back to the 1850s when tribes from all over the country discussed the notion of appointing a king. The Kingitanga developed in response to pressure on Maori to sell land because of rapid European population growth. There was a sense that Maori were losing control of their own affairs. In the Waikato War of the 1860s the government attempted to destroy the movement, which it considered a threat to the authority of the British Crown. The movement survived, despite many set backs, including the confiscation of land.

Social studies

An examination of the Kingitanga could be incorporated into a study of New Zealand in the period after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. At Level 4 these topics could support the achievement objectives for 'Social organisation', which explores how people organise themselves in response to challenge and crisis (in this case the Maori response to British colonisation). These topics are also relevant to 'Time, continuity and change' and the cause of significant events and their effects on the lives of people.

NCEA Level 2 history

The feature on Maori leadership can be used to explore the theme of 'Imperialism, indigenous peoples and the emergence of new nations' and its associated topic of 'Maori leadership of the 19th century'. The lives of people living in New Zealand in the 19th century, especially Maori, were greatly influenced by a number of major forces associated with colonisation and the response to it. In responding to these forces new movements and forms of leadership emerged, the Kingitanga being a prime example.

This material provides students with a context for:

  • Achievement standard 2.5: Examine how a force or movement in a historical setting influenced people's lives, in an essay.

For more detail on specific activities relating to this topic go to Maori leadership in the 19th century activities – NCEA Level 2 history.

NCEA Level 3 history

The establishment of the Kingitanga, the appointment of the first king in 1858 and the response to its formation are critical elements in the broad survey of 19th-century New Zealand.

In the Waikato War of the 1860s the government attempted to destroy the movement, which it considered a threat to the authority of the British Crown. In the aftermath of the war the confiscation of land and operation of the Native Land Court transformed New Zealand from a Maori world to a European one. However, the Kingitanga showed great resilience in surviving this turmoil and emerged from a period of isolation in the closing decade of the 19th century.

This material provides students with a context for:

  • Achievement standard 3.4: Examine a significant decision made by people in history, in an essay.
  • Achievement standard 3.5: Examine a significant historical situation in the context of change, in an essay.

For more detail on specific activities relating to this topic go to Maori leadership in the 19th century activities – NCEA Level 3 history.