Events In History


Exploring New Zealand's interior

  • Exploring New Zealand's interior

    After charting the coastline, European surveying and exploration of the interior were a fundamental part of the settlement process, defining the boundaries of ownership and identifying resources, useable land and access routes.

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  • Page 1 - Exploring New Zealand's interior After charting the coastline, European surveying and exploration of the interior were a fundamental part of the settlement process, defining the boundaries of ownership and


Pai Marire

  • Pai Marire

    Pai Marire (goodness and peace) was one of several new Māori faiths to emerge in the 19th century. Like many others, it was closely tied to issues of land and politics.

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  • Page 3 – The death of Carl Völkner

    The killing of missionary Carl Völkner by Pai Mārire followers in 1865 shocked the colony. The government used the event to justify taking harsh action against the Pai Mārire

A frontier of chaos?

  • A frontier of chaos?

    In the years before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, relations between Māori and Europeans were marred by a number of high-profile incidents.

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  • Page 5 – Captain Stewart and the Elizabeth

    In 1830 Captain William Stewart of the brig Elizabeth made an arrangement with the Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha to ferry a taua (war party) of 100 warriors from his base on

Taming the frontier

  • Taming the frontier

    In 1832 James Busby was appointed as the official British Resident to New Zealand. After arriving in the Bay of Islands in May 1833 he took steps to tame what he saw as a chaotic frontier society.

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  • Page 4 – Land issues on the eve of the Treaty of Waitangi

    In the late 1830s the British government became concerned about how land was being obtained from Māori. Action was needed, it decided, to protect Māori from the worst ravages

The death penalty

  • The death penalty

    The first execution in New Zealand was that of a young Maori named Maketu, convicted at Auckland in 1842. Walter Bolton became the last to be executed when he was hanged at Mount Eden prison in 1957. In total there were 83 verified executions for murder and one for treason in New Zealand between these dates.

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  • Page 2 - The first executionOn 7 March 1842 Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Ngāpuhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, became the first person to be legally executed in New


  • Clarke, George

    Lay missionary George Clarke reluctantly became "Chief Protector of Aborigines" in 1840, leading a department of sub-protectors whose role was to look after Maori interests.

  • Colenso, William

    Colenso arrived at the Bay of Islands as the Church Mission printer in December 1834. His achievements include printing the New Testamont in Māori and the Māori version of the Treaty of Waitangi.

  • Grace, Thomas Samuel

    Thomas Grace was a deacon of the Church Missionary society. He set up a mission station in Pūkawa, Taupō, but had to leave Pūkawa less than a decade later. He, along with Carl Völkner, were captured by Pai Mārire members, but Grace was released unharmed while Völkner was killed.

  • Marsden, Samuel

    Reverend Samuel Marsden was the driving force behind the establishment of Anglican mission stations in New Zealand.

  • Selwyn, George Augustus

    Bishop of New Zealand George Selwyn became fluent in the Maori language and became and advocate for Maori land rights.

  • Taylor, Richard

    Anglican priest Richard Taylor had a great influence on Māori in the Whanganui region, and by the early 1850s as many as two-thirds of the Māori population in his district.

  • Williams, Henry

    Henry Williams was a missionary who supported British annexation. He believed that Māori should be protected from lawless Europeans and fraudulent dealings. He and his son Edward translated the Treaty of Waitangi into Māori.

  • Pompallier, Jean Baptiste Francois

    A French bishop living amongst hostile British settlers in New Zealand, Pompallier was sympathetic to Māori concerns, and for his time had an enlightened view towards Māori. 

  • Völkner, Carl Sylvius

    On 2 March 1865 Carl Völkner, a German-born missionary, was hanged from a willow tree near his church at Opotiki. Followers of a new religion, Pai Marire, who suspected Völkner of spying for the government, were held responsible.

  • Te Ua Haumēne

    In 1862 Te Ua Haumēne established a new religion, Hauhau based on the principle of pai marire – goodness and peace. Most settlers viewed Hauhau as a anti-European religion that became synonymous with ‘violence, fanaticism and barbarism’.

  • Aubert, Mary Joseph

    Suzanne Aubert – later Mary Joseph Aubert – was a Catholic nun, nurse, teacher and pioneering social worker, who sometimes had to battle church and government authorities in order to help those in need.

  • Kendall, Thomas

    Thomas Kendall was one of New Zealand’s first Christian missionaries. He pioneered the transcription of the Māori language, and also investigated how Māori understood the universe.

  • Williams, William

    An early missionary and linguist, William Williams later came to criticise the government's dealings during the New Zealand Wars.