Chapter Nine in Tangata Whenua discusses the wars that occurred in New Zealand over the 1860’s and early 70’s between Maori and the British Crown. There are obvious differences between the Maori and English versions of the Treaty of Waitangi, so after the signing in 1840 tension grew and the Crown used force as a means to establish sovereignty (Anderson 256). Initially, the wars broke out in Taranaki due to Pakeha governors claiming that only those who occupied the land could have any rights over it and any objection by chiefs against selling the land would not be tolerated (Anderson 256). The British crossing the Mangatawhiri river was considered “a deliberate act of invasion” by the Waikato Maori tribes (Anderson 263) and quickly, the horrific wars spread over the North Island. Finally, the wars ended in Te Urewera. However, Maori no longer had control over their homeland and there was an impending doom surrounding “Maori political powerlessness” (Anderson 283).
The Crown’s unjust sovereignty over Maori shaped visual culture in Aotearoa to reflect ownership under the Crown. This is apparent in our national flag, where the Union Jack is dominated by a blue – two things the Maori chiefs opposed. Red is considered tapu in Maori culture, which is why it was the dominant colour in the United Tribes flag of Aotearoa.
Anderson, Atholl, Judith Binney, and Aroha Harris. “Chapter Nine: Wars and Survival.” Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History. New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books, 2012. 256-285. Print.