In the Arms of Papatūānuku: A History of Aotearoa and the United Tribes


"He kotuku rerenga tahi"
"A white heron flies once"
(used when something very special and unusual takes place)​

The flag of this fledgling nation, agreed upon at this place one year prior, swayed proud in the breeze. The gentle wind kissed the white ensign, emblazoned with the cross of St. George, with a blue canton and stars, as if to bless the new country. It was at this place, Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, that James Busby, the British Resident in New Zealand, had gathered thirty four Northern rangatira (chiefs), representing various Māori hapū (sub-tribes or clans). On the grass square that performed the function of a marae (meeting place) outside Busby's humble home, the dignitaries put their signatures and marks to the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand. Overlooking the sea, this place took its name from the Māori for "weeping waters", a reminder of these islands' bloody history of fratricidal warfare. But here, some of these chiefs promised to put aside their differences to forge a common future. Whilst this would at first be very loose and appeared but a pipe dream, circumstances would conspire in favour of unity of the Māori of Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, or Nu Tireni, as it would also be known. This would not be achieved merely through peace. It was only a few years prior that the warlord Hongi Hika of the great Northern iwi (tribe) of Ngāpuhi had passed away. Hongi Hika had acquired muskets from the Europeans and sparked a series of conflicts and migrations throughout New Zealand, worrying the small groups of British settlers, missionaries, sealers and whalers whose interests lay in these islands. They had their own interests and intentions, of course, but of paramount importance was settling the conflicts which consumed these lands. To this purpose Busby and the chiefs formed a confederation, changing forever the destiny not only of these islands, but of the entire South Pacific.


The Flag of the United Tribes

"The Declaration of Independence, the founding document of Nu Tireni, was signed in response to both Māori and British concerns regarding the activity of Europeans and the necessity of establishing Māori legal authority over this country. Highly problematic was the actions of traders in alcohol, but the overriding concern at Waitangi was the actions of Baron Charles de Thierry, who sought to establish a sovereign state in a 40,000 acre claim at Hokianga, supposedly granted to him by Hongi Hika whilst the rangatira was in England. The involvement of de Thierry in provisioning muskets to Hongi Hika in the 1820s for his campaigns alarmed Resident Busby, who feared another destabilisation of the inter-iwi and inter-hapū political landscape. Convincing various Ngāpuhi hapū rangatira of the necessity of proclaiming independence to prevent the transgressions of foreign filibusters. In signing the Declaration, the present rangatira reaffirmed their legal power and authority over their lands, whilst also thanking the British King William IV for his "friendship and protection". Such status as a British protectorate was extremely important for the fledgling United Tribes. It provided a security umbrella which deterred foreign aggression and allowed the expansion and development of the United Tribes. The relationship with the British was, as we all know, not without friction, but it was key in providing an environment that allowed Nu Tireni to further its unique constitutional development and its eventual unification."

-Whetu Hika
From oral examination, HISTORY 102: An Introduction to the History of Aotearoa Nu Tireni (GRADE: B-)
Te Whare Wānanga o Waitangi (The University of Waitangi)
Assessment notes:
Content-wise, insufficient. Simply regurgitated points made in lectures with little evidence of critical thinking. Nevertheless, competent and accurate recollection of facts.
Poor oral presentation. Lack of engagement with assessors, as well as lack of evident mana in terms of rhetorical skill. Requires significant improvement to achieve higher grades.
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Baron de Thierry and the Hokianga Affair


"He Waka eke noa"
"A canoe which we are all in with no exception"
(An expression promoting unity in the face of a challenge)​

From the journal of Charles de Thierry (1st November, 1837):

At last this journey is coming to an end. In all those years since that cannibal chieftain sold me his lands, I have set off to retrieve that which I am entitled to. Too long did I languish in a filthy gaol for the sake of some shillings and halfpence. At almost every turn my designs were foiled by the intrigues of London. Even my ancestral homeland merely shrugged at my intent, seemingly forgetting that where I carry my name, I too carry the name of France. Even the ordinarily shrewd Dutch refused to be my benefactors. But now I am King of Nuku Hiva and I will take my rights to these lands into my own power. With these fierce warriors of Tahiti, and the rugged colonists from Port Jackson, I will carve out my own kingdom where those crusty old monarchs of Europe dare not tread.


From Savage Shores - Filibustering in the South Pacific:

Whilst most of the attempts by European adventurers to impose their control over various parts of the South Pacific were both illusory and, in the grand scheme of things, inconsequential, the attempt by Baron Charles de Thierry to establish his own state at Hokianga dramatically altered the trajectory of Nu Tireni's history. The threat of foreign intervention provided a major impetus for the establishment of the United Tribes, with British direction. The northern clans of the Māori together declared their independence and unity against outside forces, under the protection of the British King. Despite official unification, warfare between the individual clans of the United Tribes did occur. Nevertheless, when Baron Charles de Thierry landed at Hokianga, he was met by the war parties of several clans, who massacred the de Thierry's Tahitian warriors and white militia. The outcome was that the remaining colonists fled back to his ship, the Nimrod, which set sail for Nuku Hiva, knowing that de Thierry would face arrest should he arrive back in Australia. The crew mutinied in Nuku Hiva after de Thierry began to act increasingly bizarre and erratic, angering the natives. Fearing native reprisals after a handful of skirmishes, de Thierry was abandoned on the island and the colonists returned to Australia, where they were allowed to live out the rest of their lives in peace. The Baron managed to find his way back to Tahiti, where he would influence French policy in the surrounding islands for years to come.


Hand-coloured lithograph of the village of Parkuni on the river Hokianga. By Augustus Earle (1793-1838)​

So the divergence here is that in OTL, Thierry landed at Hokianga, but because of the overwhelming superiority of the Māori chiefs in the area, he accepted a land grant of 800 acres rather than the 40,000 he felt entitled to. His hand was forced because of rioting amongst the colonists. ITTL, with a somewhat more powerful (but still decidedly inferior) military force, he decides to try his hand and is defeated on the battlefield.
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The Foundation of French Settlement in Nouvelle-Zélande


Port Louis-Philippe's humble beginnings

"Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua"
"As man disappears from sight, the land remains"
(demonstrates respect for Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother)​

Johann Breitmeyer stared at the azure waters, bounded by the sheer cliffs of the Banks Peninsula. He was only a child when his father, also Johann, set sail from Europe for this new land. This was, in his view, his home. He had as much right to these lands as the Māori tribesmen who raided some of the inland settlements. For this reason alone he took up arms. He may have considered himself a New Zealander, and he may be a French subject, but he held no loyalty to the Crown half a world away. Instead, he would fight for his budding family, for his homestead, and for peace, even if it must be achieved by war. The Ngāti Toa had for years terrorised the Ngāi Tahu, and had recently been emboldened by the British into sacking isolated French homesteads. Such a state of affairs could not be allowed to continue. One week from now the menfolk of Port Louis-Philippe would assemble to march north. Breitmeyer would be amongst them. He came to this land as a child, but now he was a man of twenty, and it was time to prove himself.


From La Terre Austral:

The French colonisation of the Southern Islands of New Zealand/Nouvelle-Zélande was one of the few successful examples of settler colonialism by France. As was often the case in the division of the Pacific between the European powers, French interest in Nouvelle-Zélande was largely the result of relatively inconspicuous beginnings. On 2nd August 1838, at Little Port Cooper, Cpt. Jean Langlois, skipper of the whaling vessel Cachalot, purchased 30,000 acres of the Banks Peninsula. Upon return to France, he sought to market the property which he had acquired. A consortium of merchants from Nantes and Bordeaux entered into agreement with Langlois to establish a colony at the site. Formed for this purpose, the Nanto-Bordelaise Co. was formed on 8 Nov 1839 and immediately entered into negotiations with the government. On 11 Dec 1839, King Louis-Philippe approved an agreement whereby the government undertook to provide passage for 80 colonists who would found a settlement at the site which the Māori called 'Akaroa', but which was renamed Port Louis-Philippe, in honour of the French king.

On 19 Feb 1840, Capt. Lavaud, leader of the expedition and Commissaire du Roi, set sail for the site in the corvette L'Aube, travelling ahead of the 501-ton vessel Comte de Paris, which was under the command of Capt. Langlois. The Comte de Paris set off on 20 March. As Commissaire du Roi, Lavaud had authority both over the settlement and over French whalers operating in New Zealand waters. He was also mandated with investigating the validity of Langlois' title to the land he discovered that other Europeans held equally valid claims to part of the territory. Furthermore, the Akaroa chiefs had not signed the original deal and very few of the signing Māori had received the promised payment. Furthermore, the natives of the nearby village of Takapuneke were extremely suspicious of the Europeans and their ships, as a mere ten years earlier they had fallen victim to the fierce leader of Ngāti Toa, Te Rauparaha, whose warriors had hidden in the British brig Elizabeth, captained by whaler John Stewart.

Nevertheless, the colonists were relatively prosperous due to the fertile soil. The French declared sovereignty over the whole of the South Island, and whilst this was disputed in some areas, and by some British subjects, it was accepted by the British government that at the very least the French had a right over the Waita Plains[1]. In the next few decades, the French population in the South Island would grow exponentially, and demand for space for the newcomers would bring the French into conflict with local Māori. Although the local commissaires were instructed to develop positive relations with Te Rauparaha, they were spurned, and this would eventually develop into warfare between the French and the fearsome warriors of the Ngāti Toa.

[1] The Canterbury Plains IOTL.
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Excellent idea for a TL, Hrvatskiwi! I'll follow this with interest. You have a real talent in terms of writing - I recall that vignette you wrote about a year ago about an African child soldier.
Intrigues in Northland, the Rise of Tamati Waka Nene


Tamati Waka Nene, notable Northland chief (also seen in the banner for this TL)

"He tangata takahi manuhiri, he marae puehu"
"A person who mistreats his guest has a dusty marae"
(Indicates that someone who disrespects visitors will soon have none at all)​

Governor Bourke sighed as he read over the documents compiled by his aides. He skimmed over a letter sent over by James Busby, the Resident in New Zealand, who reported directly to Bourke. As if he didn't already have enough problems regarding John Batman's treaty with the Aborigines of Melbourne, it seemed like every other day Busby sent complaints to him about some blasted tribe or another having a skirmish, or about his co-Resident Thomas McDonnell. Now he was at the end of his tether. He sent for his secretary to write a letter to Busby informing him that he was relieved of his position, and that McDonnell would now be the sole Resident in New Zealand. McDonnell may be a contentious character, but he showed some competence. Once that missionary White had gone, McDonnell had forged an alliance with Tamati Waka Nene of the Ngati Hao, an important tribe from Hokianga. He had already been on good terms with Te Taonui, another chieftain. Together, these three figures had proven to be the driving force in stymieing Thierry's attempt at setting up a colony in Hokianga, driving Thierry's Tahitian warriors into the sea, and all too often, into a cooking pot.


From Whalers, Sealers and Rangatiras: A History of Bicultural Exchange in Early New Zealand:

In nowhere was the political situation as fractured as uncertain as in the Bay of Islands and the lands of the Ngāpuhi. Although successful in the creation of a fledgling Māori nation in the Declaration of Independence, James Busby increasingly drew the ire of Governor Bourke of New South Wales, who failed to tolerate the competition between Busby and his co-Resident Thomas McDonnell. Busby had always resented McDonnell, resenting having to share his position and disliking McDonnell's contentious manner. Busby had a tendency to stay aloof from inter-tribal conflicts, but McDonnell knew these to be inevitable (even if he sometimes provoked them with his various land deals and pretentions to higher authority). It appears in hindsight that the Māori chiefs had a greater level of respect for McDonnell, who was fierce if arrogant, than Busby, whose mana derived almost exclusively from his position as representative of a great empire, and for the trade opportunities that he supposedly brought.

It is within this context that we start to see the emergence of a somewhat more unified leadership amongst the Ngāpuhi of the United Tribes. Although all the rangatira held considerable autonomy, unofficially Tamati Waka Nene was the paramount chief amongst the Ngāpuhi. His close relationship with McDonnell meant that he had significant influence over trade relations, and he was an experienced war leader. He would prove extremely significant over the next few decades as the United Tribes saw challenges arising from the Kīngitanga Movement, particularly in the Waikato. Tamati Waka Nene, taking his baptismal name from Thomas Walker, a British merchant patron of the Wesleyan missions in New Zealand, believed strongly in the need to cooperate with the British in order to ensure peace, prosperity and order. He utilised his influence over other Māori chiefs to ensure that disputes with Europeans rarely got out of hand, and allowed Europeans to be tried within an emerging legal system which utilised British common law where suitable, but providing it with a status below tikanga (Māori customary law). It would be under Tamati Waka Nene that we'd eventually see the establishment of a more centralised administration, albeit one which would be challenged at virtually every turn. In recent years the positivity of his leadership have been challenged, especially by non-Ngāpuhi activists, some of whom see him as putting into place a system which supposedly structurally disadvantages non-Ngāpuhi Māori. Nevertheless, the efforts of these radicals is drawn mostly to the Ngāti Toa chieftain Te Rauparaha and his legacy. Some accuse Te Rauparaha as being responsible for the loss of the South Island to French colonialism and driving Ngāi Tahu into the arms of France, whilst others claim him as a hero against European aggression, ultimately maintaining the sovereignty of his people.


OOC: So there have been a few divergences in this update. First of all, although Governor Bourke considered firing Busby, he did not do so, and IOTL McDonnell resigned due to his constant disputes with Busby. Secondly, IOTL William Hobson was dispatched to New Zealand in response to Busby's pleas, and sent back to London a report stating that New Zealand should be annexed. This led to the Treaty of Waitangi and the establishment of the Colony of New Zealand, of which Hobson was the first Governor. ITTL, he experiences more personal hardship in Australia than he did IOTL, and without a sentimental attachment to Australia, he takes the very well-paying job offered to him at the Bombay Marine. Therefore no report is sent recommending annexation of New Zealand. Thirdly and finally, with less European settlement (although obviously there is still some), the murders of Motuarohia Island never happen. This was the first time a Māori was executed in New Zealand under British rule and the execution of Wiremu Kingi Maketu began Hone Heke's disillusionment with the British, leading to the Flagstaff War with the British. So, ITTL Northland is a bit less volatile, allowing Tamati Waka Nene to establish himself more firmly. These things may all seem a bit boring, but they're important for the establishment of the PoD and for creating the environment which can see more Māori success.
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Excellent idea for a TL, Hrvatskiwi! I'll follow this with interest. You have a real talent in terms of writing - I recall that vignette you wrote about a year ago about an African child soldier.

Thanks Uhura's Mazda, much appreciated! I'm glad you enjoyed that vignette. If I'm 100% honest, I think it worried me more than anything :p
Les Sauvages de la Nouvelle-Zélande and the Fall of Nelson


Engraving by Emile Rouargue illustrating a scene allegedly witnessed on D'Urville's voyage to New Zealand in 1826-27

"Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi"
"With your basket and my basket the people will live"
(indicates that cooperation is for mutual benefit)​

The tricoleur flapped in the breeze as the ceremony went underway. This place, Taumata, in the 'Otago', or 'land of red earth' in the local dialects, had always been the site of displays of unity. Sometime at the end of the last century, it was here that the Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāti Māmoe had put aside their differences and joined their bloodlines through marriage. This time the marriage would not be between two individuals, but between two nations: between Ngāi Tahu and the Wīwī [1]. The Ngāi Tahu were already the premier iwi of Te Wai Pounamu ("the place of nephrite/greenstone", the South Island), whose territory encompassed everything below Te Parinui-o-Whiti (the White Bluffs). The first people in this island had been the Waitaha, who consecrated this land and thus gained it as their birthright. With the later migration of the Ngāi Tahu, this was solved by intermarriage between the newcomers and the established Waitaha. Thus the Ngāi Tahu gained the mana whenua (power over the land) through peaceful means. But recently the Ngāi Tahu's fortunes had waned. It was only a few years earlier that Te Rauparaha of the Ngāti Toa had ravaged the coasts and slaughtered Ngāi Tahu and their kin. The iwi had eventually responded, dealing Ngāti Toa some indecisive defeats. Rather than shed more of the blood of their tuakana (brothers) in a stalemate, the two warring iwi had made peace. Now the Wīwī had come from a place far afield, Parana, a land apparently much greater and more numerous than the all of these islands combined. They were ruled by an ariki (high chief) named Rewi-Piripi (Louis-Philippe). There had been some minor skirmishes, with casualties on both sides, but the rangatira of the Ngāi Tahu knew they could not afford any more enemies. Here, at Taumata, they would enter into agreement with the newcomers and accept the protection and friendship of the foreign ariki. Together, they would be able to fight off all newcomers.


From La Colonisation du Pacifique - Un examen tribaliste:

The French colonisation of the Pacific in general, but especially in Te Wai Pounamu, was notable for its enthusiasm in embedding the French settlers within the existing native political landscape. In the academic literature, this is often referred to as the "tribalist" strategy, to contrast with the British "paternalist" approach. Whilst the Treaty of Taumata put, at least in French eyes, the whole of the island under the sovereignty of France, it is clear that the French colonisers' hold on their new lands was tenuous and dependent on the goodwill of the Ngāi Tahu and their allies, such as Ngā Wairaki and Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri. In order to bolster this support, and to increase the security of their own settlements, the French and their allies would mount a campaign against Te Rauparaha's Ngāti Toa. Whilst this would not be the first time that tension between France and Britain was exacerbated by colonial ventures in the Pacific (note the Tahitian War only a few years earlier), it ensured that Britain would become especially anxious about French expansion, which would prompt them to encourage the expansion of the United Tribes as a means of preempting the extension of French influence over the islands.


From Frontier Wars - The Battle for Nelson:

The Wairau Valley Campaign, mounted by the French and their native allies against an unlikely alliance of British settlers and the Ngāti Toa, who had reigned as hegemons over the region for at least a decade. There were multiple motives for the French invasion of the area. The initial casus belli was provided by predatory raids of the warlike Ngāti Toa on the villages of the Ngāi Tahu and smaller French-aligned tribes. However, we shouldn't dismiss the manner that concerns over the informal expansion of British power in the islands weighed heavily on the mind of Capt. Lavaud, the French Commissar of the King. The French had been particularly worried by the establishment of the settlement of Nelson by the London-based New Zealand Company, under the eye of Capt. Arthur Wakefield. Nelson, located on the northern shore of the South Island, in Tasman Bay, had the potential to ensure British hegemony over both sides of Cook Strait, thus complicating the lines of communication from the French settlements, located mostly on the eastern coastline of the South Island, from other French territories. It also threatened France's embryonic monopoly over trade in pounamu (nephrite), an important prestige commodity for Māori and a potential source of French political and commercial influence over the islands. There was also the issue of access to prime whaling areas in order to maintain viability for an increasingly unprofitable exercise.

The establishment of the town of Nelson provides an exemplary illustration of the uncertain nature of Ngāti Toa's high chief Te Rauparaha's relationship with the British. One of his daughters had married an influential whaler, Capt. John William Dundas Blenkinsop, and Te Rauparaha's campaigns against the Ngāi Tahu were enabled by the complicity of British sailors in his deceptions. On 16th October, 1839, an expedition sent by the New Zealand Company to Te Rauparaha's pā on Kapiti Island resulted in an agreement between the infamous chieftain and the colonists. They were sold some land (although it was not satisfactorily defined) in the Tasman and Golden Bay areas. Te Rauparaha had also requested a missionary and in November 1839, Octavius Hadfield travelled to the area with Henry Williams and Hadfield established an Anglican mission across the Rauoterangi channel on the mainland.

The settlement of Nelson thrived for the first few years of its existence. The first three colony ships arrived in Nelson Haven during the first week of November 1841. When the first four immigrant ships arrived a mere three months later, they found the town already layed out with streets, wooden houses, tents and rough sheds. Within eighteen months, the New Zealand Company had sent eighteen ships containing 1,052 men, 872 women and 1,384 children. The early settlers of the area included a number of German immigrants, who arrived on the Sankt Pauli and established the villages of Sarau and Neudorf. After a brief period of prosperity and growth, the lack of land and capital caught up with the settlement and it entered a prolonged period of relative depression. The situation wasn't aided by the fact that there was a relative lack of arable land in Nelson, which was built on the edge of a mountain range, whilst the nearby Waimea Plains were only about 60,000 acres of space. Nelson experienced a decline in wages, as well as the temporary cession of organised immigration. By the end of 1843, artisans and labourers had started to abandon Nelson. By 1846, about 25% of the immigrants had moved away.

The settlers attempted to overcome their economic issues by securing the wide and fertile plains of the Wairau Valley, which cradled the edges of the Wairau River. The New Zealand Company tried to claim that they had purchased this land, but they were adamantly opposed by the Ngāti Toa in this claim. The Nelson settlers led by Arthur Wakefield and Henry Thompson attempted to simply take the land. In 1843 this resulted in the so-called Wairau Affray or Wairau Massacre. In January, Nohorua, the older brother of Te Rauparaha, led a delegation of rangatira to Nelson to protest about settler activity in the Wairau Valley. Two months later they were succeeded by Te Rauparaha himself and his nephew Te Rangihaeata, an accomplished war leader in his own right. Te Rauparaha asserted that there were no circumstances under which the Ngāti Toa would be persuaded to part with the land, which Wakefield responded to with a threat to have the ariki arrested. Wakefield dispatched parties of surveyors to the area, who were promptly warned off by the Ngāti Toa, who damaged their tools but didn't harm any of the surveyors. The natives also burnt down the surveyors' huts. Wakefield led a party of local settlers to capture Te Rauparaha. Although Britain had no official sovereignty over the area, it is clear that Wakefield was of the opinion that "civilisation" in some form held self-evident power over "barbarity" and therefore he was assured of his self-formulated right of arrest.

On the morning of June 17th, the British party, between 50 and 60 men, approached the Ngāti Toa camp, armed with cutlasses, muskets, pistols and bayonets. At a path on the other side of a stream stood Te Rauparaha, standing in the presence of 90 warriors as well as women and children of his tribe. Thompson, leading the British party, refused to shake hands with Te Rauparaha and insisted on arresting Te Rauparaha supposedly for the vandalism of the huts. The native chieftain responded that the huts were built from the reeds of his land, thus were his property to do with what he wished. Thompson then called back over the stream for the settlers to advance. An accidental misfire by one of the British caused an exchange of volleys, the first of which struck down Te Rangihaeata's wife (and Te Rauparaha's daughter) Rongo. The poorly-prepared British militia scrambled across the stream and up a hill, all the while taking fire from the Ngāti Toa warriors. Te Rauparaha ordered his forces to pursue the British who had taken flight. Those who hadn't already escaped quickly succumbed to the superior power of the native force. Wakefield called for a ceasefire and surrendered, along with Thompson and ten others. Te Rangihaeata demanded utu (vengeance) for the death of Rongo, and the captives were slaughtered. Their bodies may have been ritually consumed as part of a kaitangata ceremony. The British had lost 22 dead, as well as five wounded, whilst the Ngāti Toa lost four of their member and another three were injured.


Arthur Wakefield and Te Rangihaeata

The incident in the Wairau Valley contributed to the acceleration of emigration from Nelson, and an air of concern fell upon the settlers, who were aware that they were heavily outnumbered by the local Māori. Public fears of a possible Māori attack on Nelson lead to the formation of the Nelson Battalion of Militia in 1845 and the construction of Fort Arthur on an adjacent hilltop. In the event, however, Fort Arthur would not be used in defence against the Ngāti Toa.

In March of 1846, the French and their native allies marched across Te Parinui-o-Whiti (White Bluffs) into the territory of the Ngāti Toa. Marching for a while without meeting resistance and quickly occupying the Wairau Valley, the French war parties grew complacent. They passed through the Wairau Valley via a relatively narrow pass cut through a mountain range by the Kaituna River. Harassed by Ngāti Toa fighters, who had performed a tactical withdrawal from the Wairau Valley in the face of the superior Franco-Māori force, the French-led armies lost dozens of men. One of the merits of the French, however, seemed to be a remarkable degree of tactical adaptiveness. Having fallen victim to a number of ambushes, they learned to have some of their local allies, the warriors of the Rangitāne iwi, who had been displaced from this region by the Ngāti Toa, to screen the advance of the army. They would be followed by Ngāi Tahu tribesmen, who could operate as a reserve if necessary. Behind them were the French militia, whose rear was secured by another detachment of Ngāi Tahu. Casualties, at least amongst the French themselves, sharply decreased after these measures were put in place. Eventually the French-led forces reached Nelson.


The Frenchmen wandered through the narrow 'path' that led through this broken terrain. It wasn't so much a path as a part of the forest which was not quite as overgrown as the rest. The trunks of the rimu trees towered into the sky, whilst the forest floor was covered in bushes and ferns. All sorts of little creatures, insects of all kinds in particular, and some lizards, scurried about the undergrowth. But overall the forest was still, tranquil. There was only one thing that didn't seem right. The birds weren't chirping. But that was nothing to worry about. After all, they had probably scared them off with the sound of their marching. But then the forest came alive. Whole bushes stood upright, firing muskets into the column of Frenchmen. Others charged forward, armed with patu, with taiaha and with axes, shattering jaws, limbs, ribs. Tane showed no mercy that day. He is the father of man, and here his sons defend him, ravaging their enemies, sent here by his rival Tangaroa. The bellowing war cries of his toa, his warriors, drowned out the shrieks of the foreigners. Many Frenchmen fell that day, their last image that of the crazed eyes of the savage, covered in cloaks of ferns, their faces tattooed with the ta moko. They were not men, they were this land itself. The land was a murderer. No, the land was a cannibal, and it would feed on the blood and flesh of these Frenchmen.


Te Rauparaha had made peace with the British settlers. Not only that, he had managed to convince them that the security of their future was dependent on the continued control of the region by Ngāti Toa, and that their land would be confiscated by the French and redistributed to the Rangitāne. Together, the Ngāti Toa and the Nelson Battalion holed themselves up within Fort Arthur. It was here that the defenders rained musket-balls down upon the French and their allies. In the first day the attackers were repelled, driven back with heavy casualties.


From the diary of Pierre Benoit:
The first day was utterly horrible. As we advanced, the damned English and their natives rained lead upon our heads. Men to each side of me fell to the ground, crying out in agony, flesh searing from the heat of the musket-ball. Our native subjects were brave fighters, but it seemed like they were outmatched by the ferocity and savagery of their rivals. They fell up some of us with clubs, even as their brothers fired upon us with muskets. I saw Jacques head shatter as a native brought down upon it one of those little greenstone clubs the locals call 'patoeau'. I myself was knocked off my feet by one of the savages, who struck me in my ribs with their long, spear-like clubs they call 'tai-aha'. I felt at least one crack and I fell to the ground, the hulking native standing over me, sticking out his tongue in a foul expression, eyes wild as a beast. He raised the club in his hands, but I managed to take my rifle and put the bayonet through his abdomen. I will never forget that even in death he retained that foul expression as his death mask. I will also never forget my horror as in his last moments, he coughed up his blood onto my countenance. That night the savages in their fort performed a great war dance, with their chanting and the thunderous slapping of their thighs. I didn't sleep that night.


On the second day, the French and their allies overran Fort Arthur. Many of the Ngāti Toa warriors were slaughtered, but their high chiefs escaped back to the North Island. The British were more fortunate. They were given the options of either submitting to rule by the French or to emigrate to British settlements in the North Island. A handful decided to remain, but most were sent to the territory of the British protectorate of the United Tribes. Some would go to Australia, but many remained in New Zealand, and would be amongst the settlers that would go to the Waikato in the 1850s. The British government was in an awkward position. Military action had been taken by the French against British subjects, and although the British fired upon the French first in the Battle of Nelson, it was clear that the French had intended to take over the area by force. Nevertheless, Nelson was not actually under British sovereignty, even if the settlement had been administered on behalf of a British corporation. Britain dispatched a pair of corvettes from Australia to prevent the French crossing the Cook Strait into the Ngāti Toa territory on the North Island. They were successful, and the British and French came to an agreement whereby Britain recognised the sovereignty of France over all of New Zealand south of the Cook Strait, whilst Britain's influence would extend over the entirety of the North Island. France remunerated the British for their trouble, but this would not be the last crisis to arise in New Zealand.
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Bump because it would be nice to get some commentary going, especially from New Zealand posters, and this is probably a more reasonable hour for most of them. :p
I'm afraid that my knowledge of NZ history before the 1860s is fairly vague, but this is fascinating.
Are you still going to have George Grey showing up? He was always the most interesting of the British colonial types in 19th Century NZ I feel.
I'm afraid that my knowledge of NZ history before the 1860s is fairly vague, but this is fascinating.
Are you still going to have George Grey showing up? He was always the most interesting of the British colonial types in 19th Century NZ I feel.

He may show up, but it's relatively unlikely, since he's not going to be Governor of New Zealand (as no such post exists), and it's unlikely that he would become the British Resident when he's already had higher-ranking jobs such as Governor of South Australia. But we'll see. He's definitely an interesting character.
Only just saw this. Following with interest. I see you've fallen into the old "Frenchmen take South Island" trope - my ancestors will be miffed :p

Keep up the good work!
Only just saw this. Following with interest. I see you've fallen into the old "Frenchmen take South Island" trope - my ancestors will be miffed :p

Keep up the good work!

Tbh I couldn't help myself, I'm going to make it a little different this time, don't worry. I didn't really want NZ to be under a single colonial power, but there aren't really any plausible options other than Britain and France.
The Dispute in Heretaunga


Te Rauparaha, ariki of the Ngāti Toa

"He ihu kurī, he tangata haere"
"Like a dog follows his nose, man will find opportunity"
(Refers to an unjust or criminal action)
From An Awkward Engagement - A History of the New Zealand Company and its Endeavours in Aotearoa:

From the 1840s onwards, there were multiple attempts at establishing European settlements throughout the North Island. These projects were destined to meet with varying levels of success. These settlements would prove to be vital hubs in the development of Aotearoa, by providing links to the outside world, with all the material and cultural benefits (and some harms) associated with connection into a wider global nexus. These settlements were established by the New Zealand Company, a British enterprise which sought to construct profitable settlements in both Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Wāhi Pounamu. These settlement efforts effectively came to a halt further south with the assertion of French control over Te Wāhi Pounamu, but the New Zealand Company remained active in Te Ika-a-Māui. As a result of the colonisation efforts of this British corporation, the towns established by the New Zealand Company remained predominantly British in demography until the early 20th century, when rural-urban migration by Māori accelerated.

The hostilities in the Heretaunga were typical of the kind of disputes which would flare up as a result of land sales of dubious validity. The Heretaunga, known to the British as the Hutt Valley, had been lightly populated by a variety of hapu, each of which were driven out by migrants from the north. The region ended up under the control of Te Rauparaha, ariki of the Ngāti Toa, who granted occupation rights to Ngāti Rangatahi. Another tribe, Ngāti Mutunga had long since established ahi ka, or a customary right to the land and was therefore in a position to sell it, but they had departed by September 1839, when the New Zealand Company vessel Tory arrived in Port Nicholson (*Wellington IOTL) to purchase land for its proposed settlements. Disregarding advice that Te Rauparaha's consent was necessary for the establishment of a settlement, the New Zealand Company distributed payment to six rangatira for large, but poorly defined plots in the Port Nicholson area. Ngāti Rangatahi, despite inhabiting the Heretaunga area seasonally since the early 1830s, were offered nothing, despite the areas in question being under their effective ownership. Te Rauparaha himself strongly opposed the sale of this land.

Resident Thomas McDonnell, whose mandate was to oversee the protection of British interests in Aotearoa, intervened on the behalf of the New Zealand Company. McDonnell met with Te Rauparaha on several occasions, and it was decided that Europeans would be allowed to settle at Port Nicholson. However, another dispute arose over the boundaries of European settlement. After agreeing to a sale, Te Rauparaha then contended that he was unaware that the area in question would include the Heretaunga. He stated that in his mind, 'Port Nicholson' was all the land seaward of the Rotokakahi Stream, about 2km up the Heretaunga River. Aside from the original £400 price, McDonnell offered another £100 if Te Rauparaha would ensure the immediate departure of Te Kaeaea (also known as Taringa Kuri, or "Dog's Ear"), a Ngāti Tama chief whose hapu had lived at Kaiwharawhara but had migrated into the Heretaunga in response to the encroachment of settlers on their land. Taringa Kuri began cutting a line through through forest at Rotokakahi, warning British surveyors that it demarcated the northern boundary of Port Nicholson. From November 1844 the British intensified pressure on Te Rauparaha to oust Ngāti Tama from the Heretaunga, eventually gaining Te Rauparaha's support.

Taringa Kuri remained defiant, and the Ngāti Tama defied Te Rauparaha, expanding their clearings and cultivations, as well as protesting at a lack of compensation for their lost land at Kaiwharawhara. The British came to the conclusion that force would be necessary to open up the Heretaunga for European colonisation. Conscious of the parallels between their current situation and the Wairau Affray two year earlier, the British settlers at Port Nicholson formed a militia force in 1845, comprised of 220 men. A series of makeshift fortifications and stockades were built in the area, including Fort Richmond, adjacent to the Heretaunga River and the small outposts at Taita and Boulcott's Farm. At the request of the settlers, a force of imperial troops from Australia was sent to the area to bolster the meager local forces. McDonnell visited the Heretaunga in mid-February 1846, soliciting a promise from Taringa Kuri to vacate the region, abandoning 120 hectares of potatoes they had been cultivating. He refused to compensate them for loss of crops and houses, claiming that their occupation of the area was illegal in the first place. He argued that it was Ngāti Mutunga who held the rightful claim over this land, and the Europeans had already secured the cooperation of Pomare, chief of the Ngāti Mutunga, who lived on the Chatham Islands (having paid him £300). British settlers were sent into the Heretaunga to occupy the land, but were resisted by remnant Māori who refused to give way for the Europeans. As a response, 340 or so troops were sent into the valley. Despite the fact that the Port Nicholson deed excluded native cultivations and homes, McDonnell sent a message to Ngāti Rangatahi rangatira Kaparatehau, demanding that he vacate the village of Maraenuku or face forcible expulsion if they didn't leave by noon the next day (February 25th). Left with no choice, Kaparatehau accepted the ultimatum. Houses in the village were plundered by settlers the night that the Ngāti Rangatahi left. On February 27th, British troops entered the village and razed what remained, desecrating the village chapel and burial place in the process. Embittered, Ngāti Rangatahi retaliated on the nights of the 1st and 3rd of March with raids on settlers' farms, vandalising property, killing pigs and threatening the settlers with death if they raised an alarm.

On the morning of the 3rd March, a party of Māori fired several volleys at troops near Boulcott's Farm, 3 kilometres north of Fort Richmond, but were repulsed when British troops returned the favour in kind. the HMS Driver was ordered to take reinforcements to Petone. In late March, two Māori were arrested for the plundering of settlers' homes. On the 2nd April, farmer Andrew Gillespie and his son were killed by blows from at least one tomahawk on vacated land where the Gillespie family had just settled. Te Rauparaha sent word to McDonnell that the killers where Whanganui Māori not affiliated with Ngāti Toa and to look for them at Porirua. The suspects fled into bushland after a detachment of militia were sent to apprehend them.

British troops came across a newly-built and entrenched pā at the head of the Pauatahanui inlet in Porirua Harbour occupied by Te Rangihaeata. McDonnell responded by dispatching 250 troops to the northwest of Porirua. Ignoring warnings from Te Rauparaha and Te Āti Awa chief Te Puni that an armed strike was imminent, Port Nicholson police magistrate Major M. Richmond disbanded the militia in the town and reduced the strength of the forces in Heretaunga. At daybreak on 16th May 1846, 200 warriors of the Ngāti Toa and Ngāti-Hāua-te-Rangi warriors, led by chief Topine Te Mamaku, launched an attack on the imperial outpost at Boulcott's Farm. Two volleys were fired at the four-man English advance position. Te Mamaku's warriors then stormed the tents, killing the survivors with tomahawks, and then turned their attention to the other 45 men in the garrison. Lieutenant Page and two men, armed with sword and pistol, fought their way from the house in which they were besieged to the barn, where half of the force were quartered. Page ordered his troops to advance with fixed bayonets and were reinforced by seven militia, who arrived during the battle and helped to drive off Mamaku's warriors. Six British soldiers were killed, and an additional soldier and a settler succumbed to their injuries days later. Two Māori were killed and ten wounded. The scare prompted military forces to arm 250 kūpapa, or friendly Māori, of the Te Āti Awa serving under Te Puni to protect settlers, while settlers from Te Aro formed a volunteer militia engaged in nightly patrols to guard against an anticipated attack.

Another settler, Richard Rush, was killed in a tomahawk attack on 15th June and the following day a 74-strong force of soldiers, militia and Te Āti Awa warriors marched north from Boulcott's Farm and became involved in a skirmish with hostile Māori near Taita, resulting in several of the imperial forces being wounded. In the aftermath of these events, a large taua (war party) of Māori from Upper Whanganui (including Ngāti-Hāua-te-Rangi) led by warrior chiefs Ngapara and Maketu marched down the west coast to reinforce Te Rangihaeata and Te Mamaku. Unable to convince Te Āti Awa chief Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke to interfere with the advance of the hostile taua, the British launched a dawn raid against Te Rauparaha's village of Taupo in late June, despite the lack of actual involvement in the fighting. Nevertheless, Te Rauparaha had been supplying provisions and arms to Te Rangihaeata, who had been actively waging war on the British. When Te Rangihaeata heard about his uncle's capture, he sent a force of 50 warriors to liberate him, but they were rebuffed easily. Te Rauparaha and other prisoners were transferred to the HMS Calliope, which sailed to Auckland, and they were detained there as prisoners of war.

With the arrival of Ngapara and Maketu's forces to the theatre, the British forces found their strategic position to be increasingly precarious. In order to achieve peace, they perceived the need to achieve some victories to improve their prospects. They sought to achieve this through the capture of Te Rangihaeata, which would allow the British to negotiate a desirable outcome. On 31st July 1846 a 213-strong combined force of militia, armed police and 150 Te Āti Awa set off overland to launch a surprise attack on the rear of Te Rangihaeata's stronghold at Pauatahanui. The occupants of the pā were alerted the next day and fled. The abandoned pā was commandeered as a British military post. Two days later, Maj. Edward Last began to lead the government force north through the heavily-forested Horokiri ranges in pursuit of Te Rangihaeata and Te Mamaku. The force was comprised of most of the forces that the British could scrape together: army regulars, seamen from the Calliope, militia, armed police and several hundred Māori allies, including some under the command of a Ngāti Toa rangatira, Rawiri Puaha.

Te Rangihaeata's new pā was discovered on 6th August at the crest of a steep ridge and surrounded by strong fortifications and three of the British were killed in a shootout that lasted until nightfall. The force withdrew from the hill and a detachment of sailors were sent back to Pauatahanui to retrieve two mortars. The weapons were carried in on 7th August and over the next two days the pā was struck by over 80 shells . Some of the British forces also skirmishes with Te Rangihaeata's warriors in the neighbouring bushland. By August 10th, Last had come to the conclusion that a decisive victory was unattainable and withdrew, leaving the Māori allies to maintain suppressive fire. Three days later they found that the pā had been abandoned under the cover of rain and darkness. The kūpapa began their pursuit through broken terrain and dense bush, with both sides suffering casualties in the resulting skirmishes. Te Rangihaeata entrenched himself with about 100 men at Poroutawhao in swampland between Horowhenua and the Manawatu, forcing Rawiri Puaha's forces to withdraw rather than enter into a battle with a severe disadvantage.

Meanwhile, the British forces had returned to Port Nicholson, where they began digging trenches around the town. The taua of Ngapara and Maketu had begun to advance towards the town, and they were soon joined by Te Rangihaeata and Te Mamaku. Surrounding the town, a tense atmosphere came over Port Nicholson, where settlers and soldiers feared the worst. In order to prevent a potential massacre, McDonnell travelled down to the area in order to parley with Te Rangihaeata and the other chieftains. A negotiated peace was decided on, whereby the Europeans accepted the limits of Port Nicholson as claimed by Te Rauparaha and Taringa Kuri. Furthermore, Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Rangatahi were to receive tribute from either the New Zealand Company or the local settlers. Whilst the settlers weren't particularly fond of this arrangement, they recognised that it was preferential to the threat of a Ngāti Toa attack on Port Nicholson. Te Rauparaha would also be freed from captivity. Te Rangihaeata as a result received a great deal of mana (esteem) from this result, and it is believed that this event was key in Te Rangihaeata becoming ariki (high chief) of the Ngāti Toa after Te Rauparaha's eventual death. Meanwhile Rawiri Puaha was politically marginalised, having fought against his fellow Ngāti Toa for the British.
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These Bloodied Isles: The Chathams


Māori warriors, such as those who committed genocide on the Moriori

"Toitū he kāinga, whatu ngarongaro he tangata"
"While the land remains, the inhabitants are gone"
The boy huddled in the brush, shaking in terror. He had watched as the aliens came into his village. They had gone dwelling to dwelling. The men had put up no resistance. His people had done nothing as the invaders cleft their skulls in twain with tomahawks, as they beat them to death with clubs. Some convulsed on the ground, twisting and contorting their bodies in the most sickening ways, until the conquerors put an end to their lives. The boy had been playing in the forest nearby. He had glimpsed one of the invaders, and had ran back. But by the time he got back, they were already here. By night's fall, all the men had already been killed. None took up arms against the newcomers. Few even protected themselves as they were slaughtered like animals. The boy could do nothing but huddle, frozen in the brush.

As the darkness overtook the village, the shrieks of the day had given was to a quiet murmur. Some of the invaders huddled with blankets around a fire, whilst others butchered their victims. The boy's lips trembled in horror as he saw his best friend, a boy but a year younger than him, dismembered by the hatchet of one of the warriors. Blood still dripping from his grisly instrument, the warrior strolled over to the fire and placed the child's limbs in a cooking pot suspended above it. Still more body parts were thrown in amongst the hateful broth. Perhaps an hour later, the boy remained huddled amongst the brush, unable to take his eyes off the ghastly scene. He could barely see the features of the invaders, who seemed to be mostly silhouette. But he could see the glint in their eyes. In the flicker of the flames, he could see their white teeth tearing the cooked flesh of his friends and family from their bones. The boy sat there in the reeds, trembling.

With their bellies full, many of the aliens lay about the campfire, dozing off. The cook sat there, fidgeting. He had an anxious look on his face, with no apparent intention to fall asleep. Instead, he stood up, strolled over to the boy's house, and entered. The boy could make out some sounds of panicked groans. Moments later, the cook dragged the boy's older sister out, by the hair. He beat and kicked her as she screamed and fell to the ground. Her screams fell to a quiet sob as the cook violated her. The boy sat there in the reeds, tears rolling down his cheeks. Then, when the cook was done, some of the other warriors gathered around. The boy forgot himself for a moment, and his sobs grew louder. One of the conquerors looked over in his direction, seeming to see something in the reeds. He grabbed his tomahawk and marched over, pushing aside the brush. He found what he was looking for, and raised his weapon. The boy sat there in the reeds, trembling.


From Once Were Warriors: Who Were The Moriori?

The Wharekauri, or Chatham Islands (as they're known in English) were first settled by their original inhabitants, the Moriori, around 1500. Whilst many 19th century anthropologists, and many Māori of the time, promoted the view that they were the prior inhabitants of Aotearoa/New Zealand before the arrival of Māori, this has been since proved false, along with the assertion that they were originally of Melanesian stock. These outdated theories were largely a product of the scientific racism prevalent in anthropological fields at the time. Many Europeans, particularly French colonialists, pushed these theories in order to cultivate a narrative that the Māori were not the indigenous peoples of the islands, but had taken control by force, thus legitimising by extension French "rights by conquest" in parts of Te Wahi Pounamu. Prominent Māori also propagated the so-called "Invasion Theory", believing that it gave the Māori people more mana and tied their origins closely with military superiority. Whilst these views have been discredited beyond reasonably doubt, there are ongoing libel cases against the United Tribes government and Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga (The Ministry of Education) mounted by Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Mutunga, who claim that the government's official history misrepresents them and is designed to bring shame upon their iwi. Having made that disclaimer, this article will explain the history of those islands as held by the academic mainstream.

The islands got their English name from a British captain, who named them after his ship, the HMS Chatham. The captain, William R. Broughton, landed on 29th November 1791, and claimed possession of the islands for Great Britain, a claim that was not enforced. This marked the reestablishment of contact with the outside world, from which the Moriori had been cut off for almost three centuries. Sealers and whalers soon (from about 1810) flocked to the islands, and increasingly competed with the locals for limited resources. Some of the new arrivals were Māori, but most were Pākehā, including a fair number of ex-convicts from Australia. The Māori arrivals built a small village, called Wharekauri ("house of kauri") built out of kauri logs that had washed up near the site on the north of the main island. Wharekauri has since become the Māori name for all of the islands. In 1834, several Māori crew, who had been working on an American whaler, returned to New Zealand after visiting the islands and found their tribes sheltering in Port Nicholson, having been driven out of their Taranaki homelands. They told their people, the Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Mutunga hapu of the Te Āti Awa iwi, that Wharekauri was "he whenua kai", a land of food. They told their fellow tribesmen that it is full of both land and seabirds, that its lakes swarm with eels, that albatross populate all of the islands, and that there is an abundance of shellfish. They said that the natives there are numerous, but that they don't know how to fight and have no weapons.

On the 19th November 1835, 500 Māori warriors disembarked from the brig Lord Rodney. The first mate had been kidnapped and threatened with death unless the captain ferried the invaders to the islands. The warriors were armed with guns, clubs and tomahawks. A second ship arrived with 400 more Māori on 5th December. Whilst waiting for their reinforcements, the first party killed a twelve year-old girl, hanging were flesh on posts to intimidate the locals. Prior to this, the Moriori had treated the newcomers hospitably, nursing some sick Māori back to health. The Māori then began the process of takahi, or walking the land to lay claim to it. The locals were told that their land was no longer theirs, and anyone who protested was struck down by a tomahawk. Once the aggressive motives of the Māori became clear, the Moriori retreated to their marae (meeting hall) at Te Awapatiki. During the tribal hui (consultation), some of the elder chiefs admonished that the Moriori should fight back. It may have been centuries since they participated in war, but they were more numerous than the invaders, and there were still many strong men among them. But two chiefs, Tapata and Torea, argued that the code passed down to them by their legendary ancestor Nunuku, was not a strategy for survival, but a moral imperative, on which the pacifistic Moriori should not waver. In the end, this interpretation won the day.

Learning that the Moriori chiefs had gathered, and fearing that they were coordinating resistance, the invaders went on the offensive. The Māori slaughtered hundreds of the locals, eating some and leaving others for the birds. In one hangi (oven pit, filled with heated stones) alone, 50 Moriori were roasted and cannibalised. At least 300 Moriori were devoured by their conquerors. The survivors were enslaved. In the mid-1830s, the population of Wharekauri was estimated at about 1,600. Between 10% and 20% of the population had already died from infectious diseases introduced by the sealers and whalers, primarily influenza. The Māori killed many women and children by driving them to the beaches, forcing them to stay there until they died of exposure. Others jumped off cliffs to their deaths, offended at the desecration of their sacred sites, which the Māori conquerors forced their new slaves to urinate or defecate on. After the invasion, the Māori went about eradicating the Moriori as a culture. They were forbidden to speak their own language, and weren't allowed to marry each other. Many of the Moriori women bore children to their Māori masters. Those who didn't married European men. There are a handful of cases of later German missionaries marrying local Moriori and essentially buying them off of their Māori captors. Many of the Moriori died of despair. A small group of Moriori were also taken along by their Māori masters in settlement of the subantarctic Auckland Islands, but the settlement was abandoned after 20 years.

Having cooperated to seize the islands, the Māori then turned on each other. In 1840, Ngāti Mutunga attacked Ngāti Tama at their pā. The attackers constructed a high staging next to the pā so they could rain fire down on their former allies. The fighting was ongoing when the New Zealand Company ship Cuba arrived as part of a scheme to buy land on the islands for settlement. The Company negotiated a truce between the warring hapu, putting an end to the fratricidal war. In 1841, the New Zealand Company had proposed to establish a German colony on the Chathams. The proposal was discussed by the directors and John Ward signed an agreement with Karl Sieveking of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on 12th September 1841. John Beit was appointed the leader of the expedition. The New Zealand Company had already been had commercial dealings with both Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama, having purchased large tracts on the North Island from the tribes. Despite the truce, Ngāti Mutunga still sought utu, or revenge, for the killing of one of their rangatira. This was satisfied when they killed a brother of a Ngāti Tama chief. This allowed the two sides to confirm their uneasy peace in 1842.

An all-male group of German Lutheran missionaries from Moravia arrived in the islands in 1843. Three years later, a group of women were sent to join them. Several marriages ensued, and many members of the present-day population can trace their ancestry back to the missionaries. This is also a major reason for the religious makeup of the islands, with Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama both majority Lutheran to this day, uniquely amongst North Island Māori.
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