New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial by James Belich

By James Belich

The writer re-examines the process the 19th-century New Zealand wars. `The measure of Maori good fortune in all 4 significant wars continues to be underestimated -- even to the purpose the place, relating to one battle, the inaccurate part is related to have won'.

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Phil, thesis with patience, kindness, and skill. The advice of these scholars was greatly appreciated, but it was not always followed, and I remain responsible for the views expressed in this book. I would also like to thank Dennis McEldowney and Robin Dudding, of Auckland University Press, for their editorial expertise, and Zena Huxley, Carol England, Jenny Barrett, and Gwyn Callan for their efforts in typing the manuscript. I am deeply grateful to my friends, who sustained me through good times and bad in Britain and New Zealand, and to my family, especially my father, Jim Belich, whose support was infinite.

Heke was the most prominent of the anti-government chiefs, and his name is customarily used as shorthand for the whole political leadership. In military terms, however, Kawiti was equally important. These chiefs fought not only the British, but also another section of Ngapuhi. The leaders of this group included Mohi Tawhai, Patuone, and Makoare Te Taonui, but Tamati Waka Nene was the most notable. The orthodox view of the Northern War, a view common to virtually all twentieth-century works, is that the first stages were grossly mishandled by Governor Robert FitzRoy and his military commanders.

Third, all books are works of their time, and to pretend otherwise by comprehensively revising them is not always a good idea. The New Zealand Wars was substantially written in 1980–84, when I was in my mid-twenties. It is, in some respects, a ‘young man’s book’. It was perhaps a little too eager to prove predecessors wrong, and it had over-ambitious aims: to reshape understandings of Maori–Pakeha conflict and of colonial warfare in general. It fell short of the latter objective, but it has had some impact overseas.

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