Pre-1840 contact

Early explorers

Early explorers

The romance and sheer challenge of getting to the far-flung islands of New Zealand have made their Polynesian discovery and European exploration popular topics of study. more...

A frontier of chaos?

A frontier of chaos?

Relations between Maori and Europeans in the early 19th century sometimes turned violent, but overall they were more stable than they are often portrayed as being. more...

Go-betweens

Go-betweens

They bridged the gap between cultures. They were the intermediaries or kaiwhakarite who acted as go-betweens in the first tentative years of contact. more...

Missionaries

Missionaries

If early Christian missionaries failed to save the souls of all 'heathen', they made a profound impact on many Maori communities as contact points for trade and as wellsprings for new ideas. more...

Sealers and whalers

Sealers and whalers

What really happened as the first waves of the 'European explosion' reached New Zealand in the closing decade of the 18th century? Sealers and whalers began to arrive in their hundreds, keen to plunder local resources. more...

Taming the frontier

Taming the frontier

Could a flag wave away problems with trans-Tasman trade and unite Maori? In 1835, 34 northern chiefs known as the Confederation of United Tribes signed A Declaration of Independence and asked the British King for protection. more...

He Whakaputanga - Declaration of Independence

He Whakaputanga - Declaration of Independence

On 28 October 1835, at the home of British Resident James Busby in Waitangi, 34 northern chiefs signed He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni (Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand) more...