The New Zealand Wars/Land Wars

The New Zealand Wars, otherwise referred to as the Land Wars or the Māori Wars, was a series of wars, which occurred in New Zealand from 1845 to 1872. This was a result of multiple violations of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Treaty of Waitangi permitted the British Crown to govern over Aotearoa. In return, the British Crown was required to provided full protection of the Aotearoa’s interest, full recognition of the state, its interest, and provide full citizenship to the Māori and European settlers while protecting native land. What the British Crown violated was Māori land being sold to Western settlers.

Conflict that arose from this was during the negotiation process fro the Treaty of Waitangi the British Crown started to sell native land to Western settlers. However, all sells were supposedly concluded before the signing of the treaty. To prevent any continuation of the selling of lands from both parties, the British Crown decreed that native land could only be sold by the Māori people to the British Crown.

This arrangement angered Western settlers. The idea of the Māori owning their own land and for Western settlers requesting the right to settle on their land did not include the sell of the land did not sit well with the settlers. The complaints received by the British Crown resulted with the government ignoring the agreements made through the Treaty of Waitangi. This allowed Western settlers to occupy lands owned by the Māori despite uncertain ownership.

This led to the first major conflict of the New Zealand War. In 1843 settlers tried to seize Māori land that they did not own in Wairau Affray. This resulted with the death of 22 people.

Other conflicts between the British Crown and Aotearoa continued between 1845 and 1872. The British Crown refused to follow through on its commitment of the Treaty of Waitangi. The British Crown confiscated land from the Māori people (both supporters of the British Crown and adversaries) through the New Zealand Settlement Act of 1863. The confiscation of the lands resulted with a lasting impact on Aotearoa’s social and economic development of the tribes. Despite the New Zealand Wars suppose ending date of 1872, conflict over illegally seized lands continue today. The Māori people who had land illegally confiscated from them manage to fight their “war” – this time in courtrooms. The British Crown admitted that the confiscation of land, which led to the New Zealand Wars, was a violation of the Treaty of Waitangi and have apologized for the misunderstanding.