This painting shows a war party from the Bay of Islands preparing to raid an enemy tribe in the Thames district. Their chief stands in a beached canoe, making a speech to warriors seated around him. Many are armed with muskets. The introduction of devastating European weaponry, and other innovations such as the potato, brought vast changes to traditional patterns of life. Warfare became far more destructive and widespread, forcing weaker tribes to abandon poorly defended settlements and seek shelter elsewhere.
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