New Zealand Wars
|New Zealand Wars|
Memorial in the Auckland War Memorial Museum for those who died, both European and Māori, in the New Zealand Wars. "Kia mate toa" can be translated as "fight unto death" or "be strong in death", and is the motto of the Otago and Southland Regiment of the New Zealand Army. The flags are that of Gate Pā and the Union Flag.
| British Empire
|18,000 (peak deployment)||5,000 (peak deployment)|
|Casualties and losses|
The New Zealand Wars, sometimes called the Land Wars and also once called the Māori Wars, were a series of armed conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. While the early wars were largely localised, from 1860 to 1864 the wars were aimed at dislodging the Māori King Movement, which refused to accept colonial authority, and acquiring farming and residential land for English settlers. The 1860s conflicts involved 18,000 British troops and about 4000 Māori warriors and over the course of the Taranaki and Waikato campaigns took the lives of a total of 800 Europeans and 1800 Māori.
The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi guaranteed that individual Māori iwi (tribes) should have undisturbed possession of their lands, forests, fisheries and other taonga (treasures) in return for becoming British subjects, selling land to the government only and surrendering sovereignty to the British Government. Historians have debated whether this last point was fully understood by chiefs due to the possible mistranslation of the word "sovereignty" in the treaty copies. The majority of Māori were keen to sign to consolidate peace and end the long inter-tribal Musket Wars 1807–1842. They were also very keen to acquire the technological culture of the British.
All pre-treaty colonial land-sale deals had been completed directly between the two parties. In the early period of contact Māori generally sought trade with Europeans. Mission stations were established, and missionaries received land for houses, schools, churches and farms.
Large tracts of land had been bought by traders, Sydney businessmen and the New Zealand Company before 1840 and the British government was concerned to protect Māori from exploitation. As part of the Treaty of Waitangi, colonial authorities decreed that Māori could sell land only to the Crown (the Right of Preemption). But as the colonial government—pressured by settlers—tried to speed up land sales to provide farmland, it met resistance from the Māori King Movement (also known as the Kīngitanga), which opposed further European encroachment.
Violence over land ownership broke out first in the Wairau Valley in the South Island in June 1843, but rising tensions in Taranaki eventually led to the involvement of British military forces at Waitara in March 1860. The war between Kīngitanga Māori and the New Zealand government spread to other areas of the North Island, with the biggest single campaign being the invasion of Waikato in 1863-64, before hostilities concluded with the abandoned pursuit of warlord Riwha Titokowaru—again in Taranaki—in 1869.
Although Māori were initially fought by British forces, the New Zealand government developed its own military force, including local militia, rifle volunteer groups and the specialist Forest Rangers, and also responded with legislation to imprison Māori opponents and confiscate expansive areas of the North Island for sale to settlers, with the funds used to cover war expenses. Rebel Māori fighters, although employing effective military tactics, were eventually greatly outnumbered and outgunned by their opponents.
- 1 Conflicts
- 2 Participants
- 3 Strategy and tactics
- 4 Weapons
- 5 Aftermath
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2013)|
The various conflicts of the New Zealand wars span a considerable period, and the causes and outcomes differ widely. The earliest conflicts in the 1840s happened at a time when Māori were still the predominant power, but by the 1860s settler numbers and resources were much greater.
The Wairau Affray
The first armed conflict between Māori and the European settlers took place on 17 June 1843 in the Wairau Valley, in the north of the South Island. The clash was sparked when settlers led by a representative of the New Zealand Company—which held a false title deed to a block of land—attempted to clear Māori off the land ready for surveying. The party also attempted to arrest Ngāti Toa chiefs Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata. Fighting broke out and 22 Europeans were killed, as well as four to six Māori. Several Europeans were slain after being captured. In early 1844, the new Governor, Robert FitzRoy, investigated the incident and declared the settlers were at fault. The Wairau Affray—described as the Wairau Massacre in early texts—was the only armed conflict to take place in the South Island.
The Northern War
The Flagstaff War took place in the far north of New Zealand, around the Bay of Islands, between March 1845 and January 1846. In 1845 George Grey arrived in New Zealand to take up his appointment as Governor. At this time Hone Heke challenged the authority of the British, beginning by cutting down the flagstaff on Flagstaff Hill at Kororareka. On this flagstaff the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand had previously flown, now the Union Jack was hoisted; hence the flagstaff symbolised the grievances of Heke and his ally Te Ruki Kawiti, as to changes that had followed the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
There were many causes of the Flagstaff War and Heke had a number of grievances in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi. While land acquisition by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) had been controversial, the rebellion lead by Heke was directed against the colonial forces with the CMS missionaries trying to persuade Heke to end the fighting. Despite the fact that Tāmati Wāka Nene and most of Ngāpuhi sided with the government, the small and ineptly led British had been beaten at Battle of Ohaeawai. Grey, armed with the financial support and far more troops armed with 32-pounder cannons, that had been denied to FitzRoy, attacked and occupied Kawiti's fortress at Ruapekapeka, forcing Kawiti to retreat. The Ngāpuhi were astonished that the British could keep an army of nearly 1000 soldiers in the field continuously. Heke's confidence waned after he was wounded in battle with Tāmati Wāka Nene and his warriors, and by the realisation that the British had far more resources than he could muster, including some Pākehā Māori, who supported the colonial forces.
After the Battle of Ruapekapeka Heke and Kawiti, were ready for peace. It was Tāmati Wāka Nene they approached to act as the intermediary to negotiate with Governor Grey, who accepted the advice of Nene that Heke and Kawiti should not be punished for their rebellion. The fighting in the north ended and there was no punitive confiscation of Ngāpuhi land.
Hutt Valley Campaign
The Hutt Valley Campaign of 1846 could almost be seen as a sequel to the Wairau Affray. The causes were similar and the protagonists almost the same, namely, the purchase of dubious titles to land by the New Zealand Company, and the desire of the settlers to move on to land before disputes over said titles were resolved. British soldiers did not realise that the elderly Te Rauparaha, who had befriended the settlers and the government, was at the same time orchestrating the Hutt attacks. When the military intercepted secret letters sent by Te Rauparaha he was captured in a surprise attack and taken prisoner of war. This ended the Hutt war but lead to the Wanganui Campaign, April to July 1847, in the southwest of the North Island. The Wanganui conflict was caused by the Māori demand for utu (a Māori concept involving payback or revenge) when one of the ringleaders of the Hutt valley campaign was hanged. The take (just cause) for a new war was the accidental injury of a Māori by a British soldier. Māori felt confident in taking on the settlers since they vastly outnumbered them.
There followed a period of intermittent threats and haphazard economic cooperation from 1848 to 1860 although even during this time there were occasional serious threats to Pakeha, such as the arrival of 250 – 300 armed Ngati Paoa at Mechanics Bay in 1851 demanding redress for a perceived insult to their chief. During this time, European settlement accelerated, and in 1859 the number of Pākehā came to equal the number of Māori, at around 60,000 each. Settlers were keen to obtain land and some Māori were willing to sell, but there were also strong pressures to retain land - in particular from the Māori King Movement. Settlers and the government tried to avoid involvement in these largely inter Māori squabbles until settlers were harmed.
The First Taranaki War
The catalyst for the First Taranaki War was the disputed sale to the Crown of a 240 hectare block of land at Waitara, despite a veto by the paramount chief of Te Āti Awa tribe, Wiremu Kingi, and a "solemn contract" by local Māori not to sell. Governor Browne accepted the purchase with full knowledge of the circumstances and tried to occupy the land, anticipating it would lead to armed conflict, and a demonstration of the substantive sovereignty the British believed they had gained in the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Hostilities began on 17 March 1860. The war was fought by more than 3,500 imperial troops brought in from Australia, as well as volunteer soldiers and militia, against Māori forces that fluctuated between a few hundred and about 1,500. After a series of battles and actions the war ended in a ceasefire, with neither side explicitly accepting the peace terms of the other. Total losses among the imperial, volunteer and militia troops are estimated to have been 238, while Māori casualties totalled about 200. Though there were claims by the British that they had won the war, there were widely held views at the time they had suffered an unfavourable and humiliating result. Historians have also been divided on the result. Historian James Belich has claimed that Māori succeeded in thwarting the British bid to impose sovereignty over them, and had therefore been victorious. But he said the Māori victory was a hollow one, leading to the invasion of the Waikato.
Invasion of Waikato
Governor Thomas Gore-Browne began making arrangements for a Waikato campaign to destroy the Kīngitanga stronghold at the close of the First Taranaki War. Preparations were suspended in December 1861 when he was replaced by Sir George Grey, but Grey revived plans for an invasion in June 1863. He persuaded the Colonial Office in London to send more than 10,000 Imperial troops to New Zealand and General Sir Duncan Cameron was appointed to lead the campaign. Cameron used soldiers to build the 18km-long Great South Road to the border of Kingite territory and on 9 July 1863 Grey ordered all Māori living between Auckland and the Waikato take an oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria or be expelled south of the Waikato River; when his ultimatum was rejected the vanguard of the army crossed the frontier into Kingite territory and established a forward camp. A long series of bush raids on his supply lines forced Cameron to build an extensive network of forts and redoubts through the area. In a continual buildup of force, Cameron eventually had 14,000 British and colonial soldiers at his disposal as well as steamers and armoured vessels for use on the Waikato River. They fought a combined Māori contingent of about 4000.
Cameron and his Kingite foe engaged in several major battles including the Battle of Rangiriri and a three-day siege at Orakau, capturing the Kingite capital of Ngaruawahia in December 1863, before completing their Waikato conquest in April 1864. The Waikato campaign cost the lives of 700 British and colonial soldiers and about 1000 Māori.
The Kīngitanga Māori retreated into the rugged interior of the North Island and in 1865 the New Zealand Government confiscated about 12,000 km² of Māori land (4% of New Zealand's land area) for white settlement—an action that quickly provoked the Second Taranaki War. For the Waikato tribes the defeat left a legacy of sadness and bitterness at the loss of their mana, which was partly assuaged when in 1995 the Waikato Tainui people received compensation amounting to $171 million from the New Zealand government, the return of some further valuable land, and a formal apology from HM Queen Elizabeth II.
The Second Taranaki War
Between 1863 and 1866 there was a period of hostilities between Māori and the New Zealand Government in the Taranaki district of New Zealand sometimes referred to as The Second Taranaki War. The conflict, which overlapped the wars in Waikato and Tauranga, was fuelled by a combination of factors: lingering Māori resentment over the sale of land at Waitara in 1860 and government delays in resolving the issue; a large-scale land confiscation policy launched by the government in late 1863; and the rise of the so-called Hauhau movement, an extremist part of the Pai Marire syncretic religion, which was strongly opposed to the alienation of Māori land and eager to strengthen Māori identity. The Hauhau movement became a unifying factor for Taranaki Māori in the absence of individual Māori commanders.
The style of warfare after 1863 differed markedly from that of the 1860-61 conflict, in which Māori had taken set positions and challenged the army to an open contest. From 1863 the army, working with greater numbers of troops and heavy artillery, systematically took possession of Māori land by driving off the inhabitants, adopting a "scorched earth" strategy of laying waste to Māori villages and cultivations, with attacks on villages, whether warlike or otherwise. As the troops advanced, the Government built an expanding line of redoubts, behind which settlers built homes and developed farms. The effect was a creeping confiscation of almost a million acres (4,000 km²) of land, with little distinction between the land of loyal or rebel Māori owners. The outcome of the armed conflict in Taranaki between 1860 and 1869 was a series of enforced confiscations of Taranaki tribal land from Māori blanketed as being in rebellion against the Government. Since 2001, the New Zealand Government has negotiated settlements with four of the eight Taranaki tribes, paying more than $101 million in compensation for the lands, and apologising for the actions of the government of that day.
Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, a trader who had fought on the government side at earlier actions, was accused of supplying gunpowder to Hau Hau, then arrested in March 1866 and charged with spying and sent to the Chatham Islands along with Hau Hau prisoners of war where he claimed to have experienced various spiritual revelations which formed the basis of his new faith, the Ringa Tu and began holding religious services for his fellow prisoners. After 2 years the government released some senior chiefs and return them home. Te Kooti became the main leader, and on 4 July 1868, led a revolt that disarmed the 6 elderly guards,killing one,took over the magazine and stole 31 rifles, 5 pistols and nearly 6000 rounds of ammunition. He then stole about 650 pounds from the Commander's safe and private individuals. He also stole pigs from another ship, the Florence,as well as wine, knives, tomahawks and tobacco from the prison. He cut the anchor cable of the Florence and set it adrift. He then captured the supply ship Rifleman, which next day sailed for the mainland carrying virtually all the prisoners: 163 men, 64 women and 71 children. This particular conflict covered most of the East Cape region and the centre of the North Island of New Zealand from July 1868 until mid-1872. It was the longest and in some ways the ugliest and most savage of all the New Zealand Wars with at least 28 conflicts ranging from minor skirmishes to substantial battles. In May 1872 Te Kooti was granted asylum by the Māori King, Tawhiao. Later in old age he again attempted an uprising and was imprisoned briefly but soon released. He died shortly afterwards in a cart accident.
This was a revival of hostilities of the Second Taranaki War as Riwha Titokowaru, chief of the Ngāti Ruanui's Ngaruahine hapu (sub-tribe), responded to the continued surveying and settlement of confiscated land with well-planned and effective attacks on settlers and government troops in an effort to block the occupation of Māori land. Coinciding with a violent raid on a European settlement on the East Coast by Te Kooti, shattered what European colonists regarded as a new era of peace and prosperity, creating fears of a "general uprising of hostile Māoris", but once Titokowaru was defeated and the East Coast threat minimised, the alienation of Māori land, as well as the political subjugation of Māori, continued at an even more rapid pace.
Titokowaru, who had fought in the Second Taranaki War, was the most skilful West Coast Māori warrior. He also assumed the roles of a priest and prophet of the extremist Hauhau movement of the Pai Mārire religion, reviving ancient rites of cannibalism and propitiation of Māori gods with the human heart torn from the first slain in a battle. Although Titokowaru's forces were numerically small and initially outnumbered in battle 12 to one by government troops, the ferocity of their attacks provoked fear among settlers and prompted the resignation and desertion of many militia volunteers, ultimately leading to the withdrawal of most government military forces from South Taranaki and giving Titokowaru control of almost all territory between New Plymouth and Wanganui. Although Titokowaru provided the strategy and leadership that had been missing among tribes that had fought in the Second Taranaki War and his forces never lost a battle during their intensive campaign, they mysteriously abandoned a strong position at Tauranga-ika Pā and Titokowaru's army immediately began to disperse. Kimble Bent, who lived as a slave with Titokowaru's hapu after deserting from the 57th Regiment, told Cowan 50 years later the chief had lost his mana tapu, or sacred power, after committing adultery with the wife of another chief.
The New Zealand campaigns involved Māori warriors from a range of iwi, most of which were allied with the Kīngitanga movement, fighting a mix of Imperial troops, local militia groups, the specialist Forest Rangers and kūpapa, or "loyalist" Māori.
Imperial and colonial
In 1855 just 1250 Imperial troops, from two under-strength British regiments, were in New Zealand. Although both were scheduled to depart at the end of the year, Browne succeeded in retaining one of them for use in New Plymouth, where settlers feared the spread of inter-tribal violence. At the outbreak of Taranaki hostilities in 1860, reinforcements were brought from Auckland to boost the New Plymouth garrison, raising the total force of regulars to 450 and for many months the total number of Māori under arms exceeded the number of troops in Taranaki. In mid-April the arrival of three warships and about 400 soldiers from Australia marked the beginning of the escalation of imperial troop numbers.
The buildup increased rapidly under Grey's term as Governor: when the second round of hostilities broke out in Taranaki in May 1863 he applied to the Secretary of State in London for the immediate dispatch of three more regiments and also wrote to the Australian Governors asking for whatever British troops that could be made available. Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron, the Commander-in-Chief of the British troops in New Zealand, began the Waikato invasion in July with fewer than 4000 effective troops in Auckland at his disposal, but the continuous arrival of regiments from overseas rapidly swelled the force.
The Colonial Defence Force, a cavalry unit of about 100 men, was formed by Colonel Marmaduke Nixon in May 1863 and served in Waikato and militia forces were also used throughout the New Zealand wars. The Militia Ordinance 1845 provided for the compulsory training or service within 40km of their town by all able-bodied European men aged between 18 and 60; the Auckland Militia and Volunteers reached a peak of about 1650 on active service in the early stages of the Waikato campaign. and the last force—the Taranaki Militia–was released from service in 1872.
A special 65-man bush-scouring corps, the Forest Rangers, composed of local farmers who were familiar with the bush, had proven guerrilla techniques and were capable of "roughing it", was formed in August 1863; the Forest Rangers split into two separate companies in November, with the second led by Gustavus von Tempsky and both served in Waikato and Taranaki. Other rangers corps during the New Zealand wars included the Taranaki Bush Rangers, Patea Rangers, Opotiki Volunteer Rangers, Wanganui Bush Rangers and Wellington Rangers. From September 1863 the first contingents of what was planned as 5000 military settlers—recruited on the goldfields of Australia and Otago with promises of free grants of land confiscated from "rebel" Māori—also began service in the Waikato. By the end of October the number of military settlers, known as the Waikato Militia, had reached more than 2600 and total troop numbers peaked at about 14,000 in March 1864—9000 Imperial troops, more than 4000 colonial and a few hundred kūpapa.
In November 1864 Premier Frederick Weld introduced a policy of "self-reliance" for New Zealand, which included the gradual but complete withdrawal of Imperial troops, who would be replaced by a colonial force of 1500. The move came at a time of rising conflict between Grey, who sought more extensive military operations to "pacify" the west coast of the North Island between Taranaki and Wanganui, and Cameron, who regarded such a campaign as unnecessary, impractical and contrary to Imperial policy. Grey blocked Cameron's attempts to dispatch the first regiments from New Zealand in May 1865 and the first regiment finally embarked in January 1866. By May 1867 only the 2/18th Regiment remained in the country, their departure delayed by political pressure over the "peril" still facing settlers; the last soldiers finally left in February 1870.
About 15 of the 26 major North Island tribal groups sent contingents to join the Waikato campaign, although sometimes they represented a single hapu, or clan, within the tribe. Continual presence on battlefields remained difficult for most, however, because of the constant need for tribal labour in their home community, so there was a constant turnover of small tribal groups. At Meremere, Paterangi, Hangatiki and Maungatatauri, between August 1863 and June 1864 Māori maintained forces of between 1000 and 2000 men, but troops were forced to disperse after each campaign because of labour and domestic needs at home. Belich has estimated that the total Māori mobilisation was at least 4000 warriors, representing one-third of the total manpower available.
Although they were not part of a structured command system, Māori generally followed a consistent strategic plan, uniting to build skilfully-engineered defensive lines up to 22 kilometres (14 mi) long. Māori united under proven military commanders including Rewi Maniapoto and Tikaokao of Ngāti Maniapoto and Wiremu Tamihana of Ngāti Hauā.
Strategy and tactics
||This section is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (March 2008)|
Both sides had developed distinctive war strategies and tactics. The British set out to fight a European-style war, based on engaging with the opposing forces, besieging and then capturing fortified positions. The British Army were professional soldiers who had experience fighting in various parts of the Empire, many from India and Afghanistan, although front-line units were never sent (in contrast to, say, South Africa or other parts of the Empire). They were led by officers who were themselves trained by men who fought at Waterloo.
The Māori fighters were warriors from many generations of warrior—survivors of the Musket Wars, 32 years of bitter inter-tribal fighting during which the art of building defensive fortifications around a pā had reached a very high level among the Māori. The Māori warriors followed their chief and would fight in separate groups. During the Flagstaff War Kawiti and Heke appear to have follow a strategy of drawing the Colonial forces into attacking a fortified pā, from which the warriors could fight from a strong defensive position that was secure from cannon fire. Kawiti was the senior rangatira and appears to have had a key role in the strategic decisions as to the design of the strengthened defences of Pene Taui's pā at Ohaeawai and the design and construction of the new pā that was build at Ruapekapeka to engage the British forces.
Following the attach on Kororareka the colonial government attempted to re-establish its authority in the Bay of Islands on 28 March 1845 with the arrival of troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel William Hulme. The following day the colonial forces attacked Pomare's Pā; as the pā was on the coast in the Bay of Islands, cannon fire from HMS North Star was directed at the pā. The colonial forces were able to occupy Pomare's Pā without a fight. When they arrived at Pomare's Pā, the chief himself came down to see what all the fuss was about and was promptly made prisoner. He then ordered his men not to resist the British and they escaped into the surrounding bush. This left the British a free hand to loot and burn the pā. This action caused considerable puzzlement since up until that time Pomare had been considered neutral, by himself and almost everyone else.
The British then set out to do the same to Heke's Pā at Puketapu. But this was a purpose-built strong point, with only one objective: to invite attack by the British. It was about 30 kilometres inland, across very difficult country—steep gullies, dense, bush-clad hills and thick, sticky mud. The British troops were already exhausted when they arrived in front of the pā. The next day a dozen Congreve rockets were fired at the pā without effect. Lacking any better plan the British made a frontal attack only to discover that the bush and gullies they were advancing through were bristling with warriors. Some British troops reached the palisade and discovered that attacking thick wooden walls with muskets was inneffective. After several hours of costly but indecisive skirmishing, the British withdrew. Their Māori Kupapa allies were able to feed them, and they were not attacked by their Māori enemies on the retreat back to the coast. Lieutenant Colonel Despard was then appointed to command the British forces.
After the successful defence of Puketutu Pā on the shores of Lake Omapere, in accordance with Māori custom, the Puketutu Pā was abandoned as blood had been spilt there, so that the place became tapu.  Hone Heke returned to the pā he had built at Te Ahuahu. Tāmati Wāka Nene built a pā at Okaihau in the days that followed that battle at Puketutu Pā, the warriors of Heke Tāmati Wāka Nene fought several minor skirmishes with the warriors of Heke and Kawiti. At the Battle of Te Ahuahu on 12 June 1845 Nene's warriors carried the day. Heke lost at least 30 warriors and was driven from Te Ahuahu leaving Tāmati Wāka Nene in control of Heke's pā..
A Māori pā was not the same as a European fortress, but it took the British years to appreciate the difference. The word pā meant a fortified strong point near a Māori village or community. They were always built with a view to defence, but primarily they were built to safely store food. Puketapu Pā and then Ohaeawai Pā were the first of the so-called “gunfighter pās”, built to engage enemies armed with muskets and cannons. A strong, wooden palisade was fronted with woven flax leaves (Phormium tenax) whose tough, stringy foliage absorbed a lot of penetration. The palisade was lifted a few centimetres from the ground so muskets could be fired from underneath rather than over the top. Sometimes there were gaps in the palisade, which led to killing traps. There were trenches and rifle pits to protect the occupants and, later, very effective artillery shelters. They were usually built so that they were almost impossible to surround completely, but usually presented at least one exposed face to invite attack from that direction. They were cheap and easily built—the L-Pa at Waitara was constructed by eighty men overnight—and they were completely expendable. Time and again, the British would mount an elaborate, often lengthy, expedition to besiege a pā, which would absorb their bombardment and possibly one or two attacks and then be abandoned by the Māori. Shortly afterwards, a new pā would appear in another inaccessible site. Pā like these were built in the dozens, particularly during the First Taranaki War, where they eventually formed a cordon surrounding New Plymouth, and in the Waikato campaign.
For a long time, the modern pā effectively neutralised the overwhelming disparity in numbers and armaments. At Ohaeawai Pa in 1845, at Rangiriri in 1863 and again at Gate Pa in 1864, British and colonial forces discovered that frontal attacks on a defended pā were extremely costly. At Gate Pā, during the 1864 Tauranga Campaign, Māori withstood a day-long bombardment in their underground shelters and trenches. The palisade destroyed, the British troops rushed the pā whereupon Māori fired on them from hidden trenches, killing 38 and injuring many more in the most costly battle for the Pākehā of the New Zealand Wars. The troops retired and Māori abandoned the pā.
British troops soon realised an easy way to neutralise a pā. Although cheap and easy to build, a gunfighter pā required a significant input of labour and resources. The destruction of the Māori economic base in the area around the pā made it difficult for the hapus to support the fighting men. This was the reasoning behind the bush-scouring expeditions of Chute and McDonnell in the Second Taranaki War.
The biggest problem for the Māori was that their society was ill-adapted to support a sustained campaign. A long campaign would disrupt food supplies and epidemics resulted in significant numbers of deaths among the Māori. While the British could defeat Māori in battle, the defeats were often not decisive. For example the capture of Ruapekapeka Pā can be considered a British tactical victory, but it was purpose-built as a target for the British, and its loss was not damaging; Heke and Kawiti managed to escape with their forces intact. However the British force consisted of professional soldiers supported by an economic system capable of sustaining them in the field almost indefinitely, in contrast the Māori warrior was a part-time fighter who also needed to work on producing food.
The main weapon used by the British forces in the 1860s was the Pattern 1853 Enfield. Properly described as a rifled musket, it was loaded down the barrel like a conventional musket but the barrel was rifled. While muskets were accurate to about 60-80m, an 1853 Enfield was accurate to about 300m to 400m in the hands of an experienced soldier; at 100m an experienced soldier could easily hit a human target. The rifle was 1.44m long, weighed 4 kg and had a 53cm socket bayonet. This rifle was also commonly used in the American Civil War by both sides.
The Calisher and Terry carbine (short rifle) was ordered by the New Zealand Government from Calisher and Terry, Birmingham gunsmiths in 1861 after earlier fighting against Māori showed the need for a carbine suited to fighting in heavy bush. This was the favoured weapon of the New Zealand Forest Rangers because of its short length, its light weight and its ability to be reloaded while the marksman lay down—unlike the Enfield, which required the soldier to stand to load the powder and could be loaded on the run. This feature lead to a decisive victory for the New Zealand forces at Orakau: several groups of soldiers harried the fleeing Māori but only the Forest Rangers, equipped with carbines were able to follow them 10 km to the Puniu River shooting as they went.
Revolvers were mainly used by officers, but were a general issue for the Forest Rangers. The most common revolver appears to be the five-shot Beaumont Adams .44 percussion revolver. Other revolvers in use were the Colt Navy.36 1851 model with open top frame. The Colt was favoured by the Forest Rangers because it was light and accurate being a single action revolver. Von Tempsky's second company of the Forest Rangers also used the Bowie knife.
Large areas of land were confiscated from the Māori by the government under the New Zealand Settlements Act in 1863, purportedly as punishment for rebellion. In reality, land was confiscated from both "loyal" and "rebel" tribes alike. More than four million acres (16,000 km²) of land was confiscated. Although about half of this was subsequently paid for or returned to Māori control, it was often not returned to its original owners. The confiscations had a lasting impact on the social and economic development of the affected tribes. However the amount of confiscated land is tiny compared to the amount of land sold to the government or leased after 1870. Amongst the biggest land sellers were the Waikato tribes in the early 1900s when 185,000 acres of farmland was sold each year . The land titles were only held only by chiefs who alienated the land from their people. Income from land sales was often very poorly invested and lost such as the 50,000 pounds compensation paid to the Kingite royal family who lost the lot in a land speculation company in 1910. In 1865 a new government set up a compensation court in Auckland to hear claims from citizens affected by the war. Both Māori and settlers could claim. The court found that both soldiers and Māori rebels had caused damage to property during the course of the war. Māori were paid nearly 2000 pounds in compensation about 1/3 of what they had claimed. The legacy of the New Zealand Wars continues, but these days the battles are mostly fought in courtrooms and around the negotiation table. Numerous reports by the Waitangi Tribunal have criticised Crown actions during the wars, and also found that the Māori, too, had breached the treaty.
- History of New Zealand
- Māori culture
- Military history of New Zealand
- New Zealand land confiscations
- Early naval vessels of New Zealand
- Siege warfare
- Trench warfare
- Indian Wars
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Zealand land wars.|
- The New Zealand Wars / Nga Pakanga Whenua O Mua. Scholarly and comprehensive website run by Professor Danny Keenan of Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
- New Zealand's 19th Century Wars on NZHistory.net.nz
- Historical Chronology on New Zealand Army website
- New Zealand Wars (1845–1872) collection at the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
- The Maori Wars in 1966 An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
- Myths of Origins of the Maori Wars in 1966 An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
- Documenting research of New Zealand War Medal recipients