151 Years Ago – Māori Defeat at Rangiriri 1863

RANGIRIRI – WHERE MĀORI LOST THEIR COUNTRY

The Waikato War started with the British Army invasion at Mangatāwhiri on 12 July 1863.

Entrance to Rangriri Battle Site today, Rangiriri, just north of Hamilton. The Highway north to Auckland cuts right through the old Pā.

The most important battle of the Waikato campaign was fought at Rangiriri on 20 November 1863. Defeat at Rangiriri effectively meant the end of the wars for Māori and, though they would continue for another nine years, the wars had been lost. Māori had also lost their country.

Last year, on 20 November 2013, we commemorated the 150 year anniversary of the battle.

At Rangiriri in 1863, the British Army defeated the Tainui defenders and ‘kicked open the door’ to the Waikato, pushing south to take Ngāruawāhia, the Māori King’s home, by 8 December 1863.

Rangiriri 1863,  just weeks after the battle.

Within five months of the Rangiriri conflict, the invasion of the Waikato was over.

For Māori, then, the loss of Rangiriri effectively signaled the end of the wars which for Maori had also been lost. At Rangiriri, King Tāwhiao and his people had borne a terrible burden for all Māori. They had needed to either turn the British Army back, or at least force terms, but sadly they lacked the numbers and weapons to do either.

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To read more of the Waikato campaign, click here – # Invasion of the Waikato. To read Danny’s essay on King Tawhiao, as published in the Mana Magazine, No 40, 2001, pp. 78-79, click here – # King Tawhiao. Also, to read Danny’s essay on the history of the King Movement, as published in the Mana Magazine, No 50, 2003, pp.63-68, click here – # History of Kingitanga. 

Further Reading: James Cowan, The New Zealand Wars. A History of the Māori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period, Volume One: 1854-64, Government Printer, Wellington, 1955 (first published 1922), pp.326-335; James Belich, The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict, Penguin Books, Auckland, 1988 (first published 1986), pp.145-157; Chris Pugsley, ‘Walking the Waikato Wars. Controversy at Rangiriri’ in New Zealand Defence Quarterly, Summer 1996, pp.31-37.

A History of Māori Farming

Ahuwhenua Celebrating 80 Years of Maori Farming

Danny’s latest book was published last year, on 1 November 2013 – Ahuwhenua. Celebrating 80 Years of Māori Farming. 

The book tells the story of Māori farming focused on the Ahuwhenua Trophy which has been presented to winning Māori Farmers since 1933.

The competition was launched by Sir Apirana Ngata, Minister of Native Affairs, and Governor General Lord Bledisloe to encourage Māori to take up farming on remote and difficult land development blocks.

Māori farmers from further afield were later included and encouraged to compete for one of the two ‘Bledisloe Cups’ plus cup replicas and medallions.

Dairy farm and rural scene, Whanganui

In recent years, since 2003, the competition has been expanded to include Trusts, iwi collectives and million-dollar Māori incorporations.

The book was commissioned by the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee to celebrate the trophy’s 80th year of competition. The Trophy Management Committee  manages the annual competition on behalf of the Trophy Trustees, comprising the Minister of Māori Affairs, the Minister of Primary Industries and  the Governor General.

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Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in Maori farming first introduced in 1933

To view the October 2013 Ahuwhenua Newsletter on line, click the ‘BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award 2011’ image (right), especially see page 3.

Ahuwhenua. Celebrating 80 Years of Māori Farming was launched by Dr Pita Sharples, Minister of Māori Affairs, at the Federation of Māori Authorities Conference in Hastings on 2 November 2013.