Events In History


The Northern War

  • The Northern War

    The Northern War, fought in the Bay of Islands in 1845-46, was the first serious challenge to the Crown in the years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Its opening shots marked the beginning of the wider North Island conflicts that are often referred to as the New Zealand Wars.

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  • Page 2 – Origins of the Northern War

    Actions by the colonial government cost Bay of Islands Māori trade and other opportunities. Heke feared that chiefly authority was now subservient to that of the British Crown

  • Page 3 – The sacking of Kororāreka

    The sacking of Kororāreka (Russell) shook the settler population. About £50,000 worth of property was destroyed, and there was panic in Auckland. Some settlers sold their land

Waitangi Day

  • Waitangi Day

    Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. For most people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Māori, it is a time for reflecting on the Treaty and its place in modern New Zealand.

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  • Page 2 - The first Waitangi DayGovernor-General Lord Bledisloe gifted the Treaty House and grounds at Waitangi to the nation in 1932. Two years later there were celebrations at Waitangi to mark the date of the

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 conflictsDuring 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,

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 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


  • Go-betweens

    An important feature of early cross-cultural contact in New Zealand was the role of intermediaries (kaiwhakarite) who acted as go-betweens – people from one culture who lived within the other culture and helped bridge the gap between the two.

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  • Page 4 – The first woman settler?

    Charlotte Badger is believed to have been one of the first two European women to live (albeit briefly) in New Zealand.

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


  • Heke Pōkai, Hōne Wiremu

    Ngāpuhi chief Hōne Heke was an influential northern Māori voice in favour of the Treaty of Waitangi. However, he later became a leading opponent of British rule in New Zealand.

  • Kawiti, Te Ruki

    A notable Ngāpuhi chief and warrior and a skilled military tactician who reluctantly signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

  • Nene, Tāmati Wāka

    Renowned Ngāpuhi chief, Tāmati Wāka Nene, was an early friend of Pākehā. He was one of its most influential supporters in the debate at Waitangi over the Treaty and he was among the first to sign.

  • Ngāpua, Hōne Heke

    Hōne Heke Ngāpua was elected to Parliament in 1893 and represented the people of Northern Māori almost continuously until his death in 1909.

  • Pomare

    Pōmare II was a prominent Ngāpuhi chief who signed the Treaty of Waitangi. He was later arrested by the British on suspicion of treason but released on the intervention of Tāmati Wāka Nene.

  • Taiwhanga, Hirini Rawiri

    Son of Rawiri Taiwhanga, Hirini Taiwhanga petitioned Queen Victoria to change the laws that breached the Treaty of Waitangi.

  • Taonui, Aperahama

    Aperahama Taonui, of the Te Popoto sub-tribe of Ngāpuhi, was a founding member of the Kotahitanga movement, which evolved into the Māori parliaments of the 1890s.

  • Te Pahi

    Ngāpuhi chief Te Pahi was the first influential Māori leader to have significant contact with British colonial officers.

  • Henare, James Clendon Tau

    James Henare was Ngā Puhi leader, soldier, farmer, and community leader. After the Second World War he helped set up the kōhanga reo programme and fought for recognition of Māori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi.

  • Moka Te Kainga-mataa

    A Nga Puhi leader, Moka Te Kainga-mataa was an original signatory of the 1835 Declaration of Independence. Moka's name – but not his signature – also appears on the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi

  • 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.