Story: New Zealand wars

Books about the New Zealand wars

Books about the New Zealand wars

As these book covers with their varied titles suggest, there has been considerable debate about what to call the New Zealand wars. Each name makes different assumptions about the meaning of the conflicts. In the 19th century they were known among Pākehā as the 'Māori wars', or occasionally the 'Māori rebellion' or 'Māori troubles' – names reflecting the assumption that Māori were the enemy. The Māori equivalent was 'Te riri Pākehā' (the white man's anger), which saw European settlers as responsible for the conflict. Later names such as 'Māori–European wars' or 'Anglo–Māori wars' attempted to indicate the two groups involved, but the wars were not exclusively between Māori and Europeans, since Māori fought on both sides. The term 'land wars' suggested a major cause of the wars – but they were about more than land, and in the northern war land was not the major issue. 'New Zealand wars' prevails as the most neutral and accurate name.

Courtesy of Hachette New Zealand, Penguin Group (NZ) Ltd and Auckland University Press

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

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How to cite this page:

Danny Keenan, 'New Zealand wars - New Zealand wars overview', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/ephemera/36885/books-about-the-new-zealand-wars (accessed 25 June 2017)

Story by Danny Keenan, published 20 Jun 2012