Archaeology of the New Zealand Wars

The campaigns of the New Zealand Wars between Maori and Pakeha took place in various North Island districts

between the mid 1840s and early 1880s. The campaigns were crucial in transforming New Zealand from a predominantly Maori country with a handful of European settlements scattered around the coasts of the two main islands, to a nation in which Pakeha greatly outnumbered Maori and British law and government prevailed throughout.


Among the more important campaigns were those of the Bay of Islands 1845-1846, Wellington 1846, Wanganui 1847. Taranaki 1860-1861 and 1863-1866, Waikato 1863-1864, the Bay of Plenty 1864 and again in 1867, the East Coast 1865, Patea (south Taranaki) 1865-1866 and 1868-1869, and Urewera/Taupo 1868-1872 (see Figure 1).In all these districts are the archaeological remains of fortifications which date from the wars. In some the campaigns have left an enormously rich archaeological landscape which has much to tell of the course of the campaigns, of changing methods of waging war adopted by the adversaries, and of the reasons for ultimate success and failure.

The first European fortification in New Zealand was a seven foot (2 metres) high stockade thrown up in 1801 on the banks of the Waihou River (Thames) to defend a timber cutting gang put ashore from the Royal Admiral. British troops first landed and clashed with Maori in 1834 when a detachment of the 50th Regiment was despatched from Sydney on board HMS Alligator to rescue survivors of the barque Harriet shipwrecked on the coast of Taranaki. Six years later the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, by which British government was established in New Zealand. With William Hobson, the first governor, came two companies of the 80th Regiment and one of the 96th. 

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Article and Image Source: http://www.asha.org.au/


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