Story: History and historians

James Belich on the Taranaki wars

James Belich made his reputation as a historian with his brilliant interpretation of the New Zealand wars, The New Zealand wars and the Victorian interpretation of racial conflict (1986). This looked at the wars in terms of military strategy and emphasised the creative genius of Māori military leaders. His views were then translated into a television series on the New Zealand wars, where his dynamic presentation coupled with a fine production brought the conflicts to life for many New Zealanders. Here, Belich discusses Māori strategy in the Taranaki wars of the early 1860s. Belich went on to write a two-volume history of New Zealand, which was full of original perspectives and became hugely influential on the work of later historians. Subsequently he moved into a study of the settlement of the new world by the British in his book Replenishing the earth: the settler revolution and the rise of the Anglo-world, 1789–1933.

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Landmark Productions
Reference: The New Zealand wars: nga pakanga nunui o Aotearoa. Director, Tainui Stephens; producer, Colin McRae. Landmark Productions, 2004

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'History and historians - New types of historical writing since 1970', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/video/43570/james-belich-on-the-taranaki-wars (accessed 16 October 2019)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014