This 1908 illustration depicts the scene on a hilltop above Kororāreka (later Russell) in the Bay of Islands in 1845. Hōne Heke was the first of 45 powerful northern chiefs to sign the Treaty at Waitangi. He later grew disappointed at the loss of trade with European ships, and at challenges to his authority. From late 1844 he and his men repeatedly cut down the flagpole above the bay at Kororāreka. In March 1845 he cut it down again and fighting broke out at Kororāreka, then spread throughout the Bay of Islands.
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