Governor FitzRoy arrives to investigate Wairau incident

26 January 1844

Governor Robert FitzRoy (Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/1-001318-G)

Faced with demands for revenge after 22 settlers were killed in the Wairau Valley in June 1843, Governor Robert FitzRoy decided that Ngāti Toa had been provoked by the unreasonable actions of the Europeans.

The ‘Wairau Affray’ or ‘Wairau Massacre’ was the first serious clash of arms between Māori and British settlers after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Four Māori were also killed.