Maori Wars

(1843–1847, 1863–1870)
   Two conflicts between the forces of the British Empire and the Maori people in New Zealand, in both cases arising from disputes over territory. The first was triggered by the violation of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, according to which the Maori agreed to sell goods solely to British merchants in return for protection and the guarantee that they could retain their land. When the New Zealand Company attempted to survey land to which it had no claim, a meeting between company of-ficials and the Maori ended in the Wairau Massacre where more than 20 Europeans perished. Thereafter the Maori chief, Hone Heke, launched a series of raids against settler towns, and not until Sir George Grey took control of British forces were the Maori defeated.
   The peace thereby established fractured in 1859, however, when individual Maoris again sold land that by tribal tradition was held in common. The Second Maori War, also known as the Taranaki Wars, was a more serious affair - even though it was punctuated by a truce - because the Maori fought with greater determination and often used guerrilla tactics. Still by 1872, the Maori had lost half their population and most of their land.
    Gibson, Tom. The Maori Wars: The British Army in New Zealand. London: L. Cooper, 1974;
    Sinclair, Keith. The Origins of the Maori Wars. Wellington: New Zealand University Press, 1957.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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