One hundred years pass
by before the next Europeans arrive. In 1769 James Cook, British
explorer, and Jean François Marie de Surville, commander
of a French trading ship, both arrive by coincidence in New Zealand
waters at the same time. Neither ship ever sights the other.
From the late 1790's on, whalers, traders and missionaries
arrive, establishing settlements mainly along the far northern coast
of New Zealand.
Wars and conflicts between Māori (indigenous
people of New Zealand) tribes were always constant, and weapons
used until now were spears or clubs. The arrival of traders leads
to a flourishing musket trade with local Māori, who rapidly
foresee the advantages of overcoming enemy tribes with this deadly
new weapon. The devastating period known as the inter tribal Musket
Rumours of French
plans for the colonisation of the South Island help hasten British
action to annexe, and then colonise New Zealand. A number of Māori
chiefs sign a Treaty with the British on 6th February 1840, to be
known as the
Treaty of Waitangi. The subsequent influx of European settlers
leads to the turbulent period of the New
Zealand Wars, also known as the Land Wars, which last for over
Hostilities between Māori and European commence
in 1845. By 1870 the British government withdraws the last of its
Imperial Troops from New Zealand, not wishing to invest any further
in a costly overseas war which was likely to continue indefinitely.
The Māori, although inferior in number, proves
a formidable foe.
The battle of
Gate Pa is possibly the battle which made the greatest impact
in the history of The New Zealand Wars.