the Maori history in Aotearoa - Musket wars 3

Te Rauparaha and as many as 1500 Ngatitoa moved to Kapiti island, (below) and he sent Te Pehi to England to bring back muskets.

In 1825 Te Rauparaha began his raids on the South Island, and he effectively drove all before him - South Island Maori fled as far south and east as modern-day Christchurch to escape him - Te Rauparaha cleared the land between Patea and Mokua River, between Horowhenua and Wellington, and areas of the South Island so that "they lay bare, swarmed over by crickets".

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At Moremonui, south of Maunganui Bluff in the Kaipara, in 1807, the Ngapuhi had been decimated by the Ngati Whatua, with almost 1,000 warriors slain.

Taoho, one of the Ngati Whatua chiefs, had drawn a line on the beach beyond which the fleeing Ngapuhi were not to be followed. Two of Hongi Hika's brothers were slain in the battle, but Hongi Hika had survived by hiding till nightfall in a swamp.

In 1824 he exacted his revenge. Thanks to the muskets he now owned he overwhelmed the Ngati Whatua in a battle by the Kaiwaka River, which has it's name from kai and waka ( food and canoe ) because the slaughtered Ngati Whatua were piled into canoes, roasted and eaten.

The Ngati Whatua survivors fled to Waitakere, and then on to the Waikato, and to Whangarei. The Auckland isthmus was abandoned.

In 1826 Hongi Hika followed the survivors into the Waikato, but in the next year he was mortally wounded. Returning to Whangaroa, he was dead within 14 months.

The Musket Wars continued through the '30's but by the 1840's a stalemate - most tribes now had muskets - was reached, an uneasy balance of power that effectively brought to an end the slaughter.

Inevitably, the loss of so many Maori meant that European expansion through the new country was not as difficult as it might well have been had the tribes been more unified.

Maori family pose outside their whare


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