New Zealand War Sites and landscapes

The New Zealand Wars of the 1840s and 1860s-70s were part of Maori–Pakeha conflict

over land (whenua) and sovereignty (rangatiratanga) which began earlier and has continued to the present day. The wars were central to this country changing from the Maori land it was for hundreds of years, to one dominated by Europeans. Historian James Belich (1996: 249) refers to 'swamping', in which Maori were simply outnumbered by the newcomers. In 1858, two years before the major conflict began, Maori and Pakeha each numbered about 60,000; at the end of the 1860s Maori were one in five of 300,000 New Zealanders; by the end of the century Maori made up only one in twenty of the country's population.

War led directly to the confiscation of large tracts of North Island Maori land and indirectly to the further dispossession of weakened and divided tribes at the hands of the Maori Land Court.To understand the present we must know the past. War was at the heart of a process of expansion and dispossession that has defined our country for 150 years. In today's renegotiation of the Pakeha-Maori relationship there is no escaping reference to the NewZealand Wars and its results.

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Authors: Nigel Prickett & Rick McGovern-Wilson

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Keywords: New Zealand, Battlefields, Fortifications, Archaeology


Nigel Prickett & Rick McGovern-Wilson

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