Writing this site

This website was first launched in 2001, at the Conference of the New Zealand Historical Association during a session devoted to Māori history.


Main street Pungarehu today.

Quite a few people have written parts of this website and are part of wider group supporting our focus which is Māori and the New Zealand Wars, and Māori history / histories of Māori and histories of Native Peoples in general.  The main writer of this site though is Danny Keenan (Ngāti Te Whiti, Te Ātiawa) from Taranaki.

Danny was born in New Plymouth and raised in Pungarehu, attending Pungarehu Primary School [before it closed down].Logo designed for Pungarehu Primary School Centenary 2002.

Pungarehu is a small coastal village which is now mostly empty (see left), a far cry from the old days when rustic folk thronged the main street, it’s a bit of a ghost town now sadly.

Danny has a PhD in history, obtained from Massey University in 1994. Thereafter, he lectured in the History Department until 2005. Danny’s PhD thesis, Haere Whakamua, Hoki Whakamuri Going Forward Thinking Back examined the Native Land Court in Taranaki in the mid 1860s, especially its subsidiary, the Compensation Court. This thesis argues that, though afflicted by hurt, dispossession and loss during the 19th century, Taranaki Māori actions and responses were always founded upon customary theologies of legitimation and liberation. 

In 2009, Danny was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to teach at the awesome Georgetown University, Washington DC (right).  He taught a course entitled Last Outpost of Empire? New Zealand, National Identity and Māori to 35 extremely able American students – see Home thoughts from Georgetown, Washington DC.

Georgetown University, Washington DC.

Danny Keenan

Danny has published widely on Māori and New Zealand history, mostly political history, focusing on Māori and the State in the 19th century, of which the New Zealand wars were of course an essential part.

You can read some of this published material directly online by going to Published Work and clicking on the respective image. Other material will be uploaded shortly. Our aim is to have everything ever published by Danny available here, directly online. Danny’s email address is: danny.keenan@newzealandwars.co.nz  


Our LogoOur specially designed logo for this New Zealand Wars website, designed by Erin.

The logo used in this website was designed by our young budding artist Erin Keenan in about 1998, when she was aged about 14 years old. Erin says the logo represents ‘peace arising from the troubled land’. Erin has gone on the get a PhD in Māori history, graduating in 2013 (right) with sisters Lauren, [Erin], Philippa and Ngaire.

Erin and her sisters, from left, Lauren, Erin, Philippa and Ngaire.

Erin’s groundbreaking thesis reframed notions of ‘Māori urban migration’ by presenting Māori as perennially nomadic, and given to migration, ever since the ancient times, up to the modern era. 

Her particular focus was Māori from Taranaki, where Erin is from, and their migrations over time to Wellington; and the evolving nature of their claim to, and customary status within, the tribal landscape of which Wellington is a part.

You can read Erin’s awesome PhD thesis here: Māori Urban Migrations and Identities, ‘Ko Ngā Iwi Nuku Whenua’: A study of Urbanization in the Wellington Region during the Twentieth Century (vuw.ac.nz)

Lauren is also now a published writer of books ranging from personal well-being to children’s fiction; and was recently nominated for a national book award in 2022. Lauren’s latest book is The Space Between (Penguin, Auckland, 2024) is a riveting historical fiction based in New Plymouth on the eve of war breaking out in 1860.

Four sisters braving the Auckland Sky Tower

Danny’s number plate.