Māori historians of the Wars

Keith Sinclair's masterful analysis of the causes of the wars, which focuses mainly on the events in Waitara, leading up to the outbreak of war there in 1860.

Many historians have written about the New Zealand wars; and most have done a fine job of their research and publications. Professor Keith Sinclair is a prime example (see left).

The most prominent historian of the wars is undoubtedly Professor James Belich, whose ground-breaking books and TV series especially have received substantial and deserved acclaim.

Other important historians include Alan Ward, Keith Sorrenson, Tony Simpson and, more recently, Ron Crosby, whose recent book Kupapa. The Bitter Legacy of Māori Alliances with the Crown was particularly interesting.

The New Zealand Wars literature, as a result, is quite extensive. You can read about some of these authors and publications, and how they have contributed to a wars historiography, by clicking here – writing about the wars.

Māori historians

However, the number of Māori historians who have written about the wars is quite limited. Perhaps best known amongst Māori writers of the wars is Buddy Mikaere (below, right), a former Director of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Buddy Mikaere, foremost Māori historian of the NZ Wars.

Buddy is possibly best know for his book Te Maiharoa and the Promised Land, published in 1997, thō of course he has done heaps since then. His recent Victory at Gate Pa? The Battle of Pukehinahina-Gate Pā: 1864 (2018 with Cliff Simons) is now available; it’s a terrific account of the circumstances that led to the 1864 battle.

Other Māori of note include filmmaker and historian Brad Haami (below, left) and tribal historian Tony Sole (below, right). Brad has won countless awards and is possibly best known for two of his books, Golan Maaka: Māori Doctor, which was a personal memoir, and Love Stories: Mate Tau.  Brad has also produced documentaries for TV.

Tony Sole came to fame (so to speak) as a prodigious research historian assisting Ngāti Ruanui of South Taranaki in their Treaty claim during the 1990s. He is best known for his hugely-detailed tribal history, Ngāti Ruanui.

Tony Sole of Ngāti Ruanui, a prodigious researcher.
Brad Haami, well-known Māori historian and filmmaker

Monty Soutar (below, right) is also well established as a wars historian. Monty is perhaps better known for his work on Māori and the Second World War, but he has written about the 19th century wars featuring his Ngāti Porou people.

Monty has won numerous awards for his outstanding scholarship and is rightly recognised, with Buddy Mikaere, as New Zealand’s foremost Māori historian.

Dr Monty Soutar, acclaimed Māori military historian.

Monty’s PhD thesis focussed on Ngāti Porou rangatira Ropata Wahawaha, and his war against Pai Marire adherents who encroached into the East Coast. As Monty argues, these were significant campaigns that were essential to the stabilising of the Coast.

Monty is possibly best known for his book Ngā Tamatoa: The Price of Citizenship. C Company 28 (Māori) Battalion 1939-1945 (published 2008). This huge, award-winning book tells the significant history of Māori soldiers fighting in Europe for the Māori Battalion, during World War Two.

Danny Keenan

Danny Keenan (who is the writer of this site) has also written about the New Zealand Wars. His field of research is political history, especially Māori and the State in the 19th century, which includes the New Zealand Wars.

Danny’s PhD thesis examined the Native Land Court’s activities in Taranaki during the 1860s, in the wake of the land confiscations. To see some of Danny’s publications, see here – published works.

Buddy, Brad, Tony, Monty and Danny were all also involved in establishing Te Pouhere Korero, the Māori historians network – all were present during the inaugural hui held at Manutuke Marae, Gisborne, in November 1992, when Te Pouhere Korero was formally established.

For more on how this network of Māori historians has fared, click here – Te Pouhere Korero