Provinces financed their development through the sale of Crown land, but that land had first to be acquired from Māori by the colonial government. By 1860 virtually the whole of the South Island had been bought, but only relatively small areas in the North Island. The sale by Māori of several big blocks of land in Hawke’s Bay in the 1850s made the province’s separation from Wellington province in 1858 viable. In contrast, settlers in Auckland and Taranaki provinces agitated at the slow pace of land acquisition and at any sign of Māori reluctance to sell, as was increasingly the case in the later 1850s. War broke out between Māori and the Crown in both provinces in the 1860s, and much land that had not been acquired through negotiation was gained by confiscation.
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Source: Claudia Orange, Illustrated history of the Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2001, p.318