War in Tauranga

Page 6 – The fighting ends

By the end of July 1864 the Tauranga war was over. Most of Ngāi Te Rangi accepted peace and handed over weapons, although many of these were old and of poor quality. Tauranga Māori still had the modern weapons they had captured at Gate Pā. For historian James Belich, Te Ranga ‘slipped easily into the mould of the British winning the last, decisive, battle’.

Some criticised Grey for going soft on Ngāi Te Rangi. Little land was taken from them and the government even provided food and seed to ‘tide them over the after-effects of their long campaign’. Grey’s critics attributed his leniency to an alleged affair with a Ngāi Te Rangi woman. A more likely reason is that Ngāi Te Rangi would not have made peace otherwise. Te Ranga gave the British the opportunity to claim victory rather than risk another reversal should fighting continue.

The New Zealand Parliament had already passed legislation (the 1863 New Zealand Settlements Act) which allowed for the seizure of up to 3.5 million acres (1.4 million ha) of land from Māori found to have been in rebellion against the Crown. This land would help pay for the cost of the war.  With the war in Waikato also seemingly at an end, the settler population wanted to see confiscation enforced to the fullest possible extent.

Grey advocated confiscating less land. His position may have been influenced by a clear message from the Colonial Office that Britain was not interested in funding more fighting to satisfy the settlers. Edward Cardwell, the new Secretary of State for the Colonies, reminded Grey that:

10,000 English troops had been placed at your disposal for objects of great Imperial concern, and not for the attainment of any merely local object … you will not continue the expenditure of blood and treasure longer than is absolutely necessary for the establishment of a just and enduring peace.

The question remained as to whether ‘a just and enduring peace’ could be achieved.

How to cite this page

'The fighting ends', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/war-in-tauranga/fighting-ends, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 22-Oct-2021