musket wars


Musket Wars

  • Musket Wars

    Thousands of Māori died in the intertribal Musket Wars of the 1810s, 1820s and 1830s. Muskets changed the face of intertribal warfare, decimating some tribes and drastically altering the territorial boundaries of others.

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  • Page 2 – Overview

    Between 1818 and the early 1830s an estimated 20,000 Māori were killed in what have been described as the Musket Wars. Thousands more were enslaved or became refugees.

  • Page 3 – Beginnings

    The Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika is usually seen as responsible for beginning the Musket Wars.

  • Page 4 – The arms race

    Diplomacy, arranged marriages, gifts, asset-stripping (taua muru) and escape were all used to avoid fighting. When these methods failed, the common response was to seek an

  • Page 5 – Aftermath

    How the wars ended and the impact they had on iwi

  • Page 6 – Further information

    This web feature was written by Steve Watters and produced by the team.LinksMusket wars (Te Ara)Ngāpuhi (Te Ara)Books and articlesAtholl Anderson, Judith

New Zealand's 19th-century wars

  • New Zealand's 19th-century wars

    War changed the face of New Zealand in the 19th century. Many thousands of Māori died in the intertribal Musket Wars between the 1810s and the 1830s. There were more deaths during the New Zealand Wars of the 1840s to 1870s between some Māori and the Crown, which for many tribes had dire consequences.

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  • Page 2 – Pre-1860 conflicts

    During the Musket Wars of the 1810s-1830s thousands of Māori fled from their traditional lands, opening large areas to potential Pākehā (European) settlement. In 1840,

  • Page 3 – Taranaki and Waikato wars

    An overview of the conflict between Māori and European settlers in Taranaki and Waikato during the New Zealand Wars.

  • Page 9 – Further information

    Recommended links and books relating to New Zealand's 19th-century wars


  • Missionaries

    The Christian missionaries of the pre-1840s have been described as the 'agents of virtue in a world of vice', although they were not immune to moral blemish themselves.

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  • Page 3 - Men of vice or virtue?Thomas Kendall established the first mission school, but he was later suspended after admitting an adulterous affair with a Maori


  • Te Rauparaha

    Te Rauparaha was a Ngāti Toa chief and warrior. Sometimes called the 'Napoleon of the Southern Hemisphere', he ruled the lower end of the North Island from his base at Kapiti Island for the best part of 20 years

  • Te Wherowhero, Pōtatau

    In the 1850s, a movement was set up to appoint a Māori king who would unite the tribes, protect land from further sales and make laws for Māori to follow. Te Wherowhero became the first Māori king in 1858.

  • Te Kawau, Āpihai

    Te Kawau was a Ngāti Whātua leader who signed the Treaty of Waitangi at Manukau Harbour in March 1840. He later worked with European magistrates to settle disputes among Māori.

  • Hika, Hongi

    The Ngāpuhi rangatira Hongi Hika became a pivotal figure in New Zealand history. He was a skilled and driven leader in war and trade, and his actions had far-reaching consequences.

  • Tītokowaru, Riwha

    Ngā Ruahine prophet, military leader, master tactician, peacemaker and Parihaka supporter, Tītokowaru was one of New Zealand's most important nineteenth-century figures.