Maori leadership

Page 1 – Introduction

Case study: Māori leadership in the 19th century

Related features in NZHistory

Topics include:

  • the origins of the King movement
  • the search for a king
  • the land issue
  • troubled times: the build up to war
  • the invasion of the Waikato
  • maintaining the Kīngitanga
  • Pāi Marire
  • the death of Carl Völkner
  • war on the Whanganui.

The 19th century was a period of great change for Māori. Traditional forms of leadership and politics were placed under immense pressure. The emergence of new leaders and styles of leadership in the face of European colonisation can be seen as an event of significance to new Zealanders. Attempts to create pan-tribal movements were met with resistance by some iwi as well as by Europeans. Māori were greatly influenced by a number of major forces including:

  • nationalism
  • imperialism
  • colonisation
  • religion
  • racism
  • war
  • colonialism
  • sovereignty.

In responding to these forces, new movements and forms of leadership emerged. Two examples are the Kīngitanga and Pāi Marire.

How to cite this page

'Maori leadership activities', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 13-May-2016