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Missionary protection of Māori cartoon


This cartoon from the Taranaki Punch, 21 November 1860, shows a missionary protecting a Māori man from being shot by a soldier. The caption reads, 'Perchance it was his hand, That burned down thy cot, But, savage, here I stand, Thy gun shall harm him not.'

Some settlers became angry with what they saw as missionary support for Māori in the war. The prominent Anglican missionary at Ōtaki, Octavius Hadfield, had publicly criticised the Governor for abusing his power in waging war in Taranaki. He believed that Wiremu Kīngi was justified in resisting the Crown over the Waitara purchase. Hadfield made a direct and public appeal for justice to the Duke of Newcastle, colonial secretary, with three pamphlets published in London in 1860 and 1861. Some clergy were concerned at the 'intemperate unwise language' used by Hadfield. Many settlers regarded his actions as bordering on treason, especially when his influence was recognised in the petition of 30 March 1860 of Ōtaki Maori to Queen Victoria for the recall of the governor. Hadfield defended his stand at the bar of the House of Representatives on 14 August 1860.

George Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, was also openly critical of the decision to go to war. In 1855 Selwyn had been asked by Governor Thomas Gore Browne to help mediate in the Puketapu feud. While in the province he rebuked local settlers 'for their covetous greed for Māori land'. This sermon was furiously attacked in the local press. Selwyn responded that he spoke what he saw as the truth and was prepared to suffer for this. As conflict spread in the 1860s Selwyn was close to despair. War was a major setback to his hopes for 'a just and equal society'. He continued to defend the Treaty of Waitangi and condemned the policy of land confiscation in the wake of the wars as a 'fatal mistake'.


Puke Ariki, New Plymouth
Accession Number: ARC2002-538
Artist: Garland William Woon
Publication: Taranaki Punch, 1860-61
Permission of Puke Ariki must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

How to cite this page

Missionary protection of Māori cartoon, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated