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Why did the Maori decide to challenge Pakeha authority in the North in the 1840s?

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Introduction

Why did the Maori decide to challenge Pakeha authority in the North in the 1840s? The conflicts between the Maori and Pakeha marked the beginning of the New Zealand Wars. Starting in the year 1845, the Maori, specifically Hone Heke and Kawiti, felt as if the Pakeha settlers were not honouring the Treaty of Waitangi, which had been signed five years ago, and as a result believed their chiefly authority was being usurped. The fact that the American and French traders were informing the Maori that the Union Jack, which was being flown on the Maika Hill, was a sign of slavery for the Maori only added fuel to the fire. Furthermore, speculations over the confiscation of Maori land for British use were strengthened by the sudden rise in European settlers flowing into New Zealand. ...read more.

Middle

Even though, in retrospect, it is obvious as to why the Pakeha did not act in the way the Maori thought appropriate of them, this clash in reasoning inexorably led to the confrontation between Maori and Pakeha. In addition, many rumours rose that Maori land would be confiscated by the British government for use by European settlers. This would once again strengthen Hone Heke's belief that the British government and Pakeha were not respecting the Treaty. When many more European settlers arrived in New Zealand, slowly increasing the Pakeha numbers, the rumours of land confiscation were given new credibility and the Maori people started to see the truth in those rumours. The prospect of the confiscation of Maori land put them on edge and they began wondering whether they would be able to keep any land for themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Hone Heke challenged the Pakeha, he believed that the British were dishonouring the Treaty of Waitangi. He thought that the Pakeha's indifferent nature towards the Treaty of Waitangi was unacceptable, even though, in hindsight, it is clear as to why the Pakeha's views did not coincide with the Maori's. To a lesser extent, the fact that the Maori thought the British government was going to confiscate their lands was again in direct violation of the Treaty in their eyes. Also, the minor reason of lost pride was a contributing factor as well. The Maori believed the British government thought that they had enslaved New Zealand and all its inhabitants, and they could not help but prove them wrong. Even today, the Union Jack on the New Zealand flag serves as a reminder of the British hold over this country. ...read more.

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