Wars Without End

Oakura Marae, Oakura, near New Plymouth. The marae sits on land retained by Māori following the 1860s confiscations.The New Zealand Wars, say most historians, ended in 1872. Militarily speaking, this makes sense because the last shots were fired on 14 February 1872 at Mangaone, on the East Coast of the North Island.

Danny Keenan, 'Wars Without End,'The Land wars in 19th Century New Zealand', revised Edition, published by Penguin Books (Auckland, NZ), September 2009.But for Māori, the wars never ended, with the conflicts over land and te tino rangatirantanga – sovereignty – moving from the battle fields into the Courts and Parliament.

‘Wars Without End’ is the perspective on the wars argued by Danny in his 2009 book of the same name Wars Without End. The Land Wars in Nineteenth century New Zealand (Penguin Books, Revised Edition, 2009).

Danny also argues that the wars were all about land, and the unlawful acquisition of it by the Crown. The wars were ‘Land Wars’, which continued into the courts and Parliament.

John Ballance statue, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

The Native Land Court, in particular, proved to be a blunt weapon used by the Crown to acquire customary Māori land. Parliament enacted the legislation necessary for this to happen. This section will examine this process in some detail.