To many people, New Zealand is one of the most sought-after countries for many English folk to move to, either to emigrate, or retire.
Why? Because we think that the whole country and its massive natural resources belong to us. But why should we think that? What about the people that lived peacefully there since the beginning of the first century – the Maori peoples from Polynesia?
Too many times, we seem to think that this whole area of the Pacific was populated by tribes of fierce savages, who knew nothing of the ‘civilized’ world, and allegedly had no idea of commerce or interaction with other nations. For many such peoples, they became ‘fair game’ to the more ‘advanced’ civilizations of the west, such as Britain, France and Spain, who would go to any lengths to secure new additions to their overseas empires.
Even if there was a lack of commercial awareness in these conquered States, what gave anybody the right to take over and attempt to destroy, the local religions, belief, and traditions of these indigenous peoples? After all, if Britain had lost the Second World War, we would probably now all be using German as our first language, and there would have been no religious freedom of expression allowed. Would that have made us a better country? I doubt it. There would have been much dissent and undertones of revolt, and a feeling that we were robbed of our heritage.
The facts are that at the turn of the 19th Century, the Maori people had established a Bank (Te Whare Awaroa Mauri Trust Bank) and a newspaper (The Native Courier) in 1808. Hardly the activities to be expected from so-called ‘ignorant savages’.
In 1816 Te Wakaminenga O Nga Hapu formed a Maori Court with laws based on Tikanga Maori (in response to the lawless and unruly behaviour of visiting whalers, sealers and other foreigners) and enforced the laws accordingly. They further planned to unite the tribes operating on two levels by uniting the Ariki blood lines, and forming an army in a common defence policy against to ever-increasing immigration issues.
In the same year the authority of Maori Sovereignty was recognised and registered in the House of Westminster, England, as well as recognised by other nations such as America, France, Japan and Te Moananui A Kiwa. (United Pacific Nations)
The growth of settlers and whalers into New Zealand in the first quarter of the 19th Century had a devastating effect on the Maori people. Not only were they becoming outnumbered, but disease introduced from the settlers was causing massive numbers deaths from illnesses that in the Western world were just mild complaints.
A lot of settlers were carrying out illegal purchase of land in this time period, and introducing new types of crops, and new ways of fishing (especially whaling), and this activity caused a lot of friction between many of the Maori iwi (Tribes), leading to a whole series of brutal inter-tribal wars. To try and redress …