In 1860 most land in the North Island was still owned by Māori, who had a dominant role in agriculture. After 1860 this changed as large land confiscations, together with the passing of laws enforcing individual title to land, led to the wholesale loss of Māori land.
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Source: Claudia Orange, Illustrated history of the Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2001, p. 318.