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The New Zealand Wars: Te Papa Event Video

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The New Zealand Wars were a series of conflicts that profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation’s history.  Watch Mihingarangi Forbes in conversation with historian Vincent O'Malley at Te Papa's Marae, Rongomaraeroa, exploring the significance of these conflicts for New Zealanders today.  Recorded at an event held in October 2019 and hosted by Bridget Williams Books (BWB) to mark both the annual commemoration of these conflicts and that year's release of Vincent O'Malley's bestselling book The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa .        See also this shorter video, featuring Vincent O'Malley introducing the topic at the same event. 

NZ Wars: Stories of Tainui

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Following on from the award-winning NZ Wars: The Stories of Ruapekapeka and NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara , NZ Wars: Stories of Tainui was released earlier this year.  Produced by Great Southern Television and Aotearoa Media Collective for RNZ, and presented by Mihingarangi Forbes, NZ Wars: Stories of Tainui tells the of the invasion of 1863 invasion of Waikato, a defining moment in Aotearoa New Zealand history. Centred on three key encounters; Rangiriri, Rangiaowhia and Ōrākau NZ Wars: Stories of Tainui is a bicultural retelling of “the biggest and most important campaign of the 19th century New Zealand Wars”.  The documentary recaps the events which led to the invasion of the Waikato and examines its consequences for future generations of New Zealanders.       Besides the documentary itself, extended interviews are also available to view with leading Tainui tribal historians Rahui Papa, Brad Totorewa, Tom Roa, Mamae Takerei and Kawhia Muraahi, along with myself.     There ar

Voices from the New Zealand Wars/He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa

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Voices from the New Zealand Wars/He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa will be published by Bridget Williams Books in October 2021 and is available to preorder now. The following description comes from the book's webpage.   The New Zealand Wars of the mid-nineteenth century profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation's history. This book takes us to the heart of these conflicts with a series of first-hand accounts from Māori and Pākehā who either fought in or witnessed the wars that ravaged New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. From Heni Te Kiri Karamu's narrative of her remarkable exploits as a wāhine toa, through to Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky's writing of his time in the Forest Rangers and beyond, we learn about the wars at a human level.    The often fragmentary, sometimes hastily written accounts that make up  Voices from the New Zealand Wars  vividly evoke the extreme emotions – fear, horror, pity and courage – experienced during the most turbul

Irish Precedents and the New Zealand Wars

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A recent blog post discussed Irish and Māori historical connections . This post continues down this path, with a narrower focus on the New Zealand Wars. There are two aspects to this: Irish precedents for the package of land confiscation and other measures passed in 1863, and the reactions of Irish soldiers sent to New Zealand to fight in these conflicts. What did these Irishmen think of fighting a war of conquest and dispossession for which their own country had served as the original blueprint? How did they feel about doing to Māori what had been done to their own people and land? The 18 th Royal Irish Regiment arrived in New Zealand days before the invasion of Waikato in July 1863 and was the last regiment to leave the colony (in February 1870). But many men remained behind. 18th Regiment veterans and their families gather at Albert Park, 31-WP1752, Auckland Libraries   As the New Zealand Settlements Act authorising land confiscations from Māori made its way through the New Ze

Difficult Histories: The New Zealand Wars

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Difficult Histories: The New Zealand Wars is the Marsden Fund-supported research project that I am co-Principal Investigator on with Professor Joanna Kidman. The project traces shifting historical perspectives of the New Zealand Wars and investigates how different groups have commemorated these conflicts over time and how memory and silence about this difficult past permeates people’s everyday lives in the present.       We have recently established a YouTube channel featuring webinars and other talks we have taken part in, playlists of other relevant material, and short videos filmed during our visits to sites connected with the New Zealand Wars.   Recently, for example, we visited a number of sites at Whanganui and Taranaki, including Handley's Woolshed, in the Nukumaru district, where a group of Māori children were attacked by the Kai Iwi Cavalry in November 1868 and two of their number killed in horrific circumstances. In the video below we discuss what we found when we vi

Frontier Town: History, Memory and Myth on the King Country Aukati

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Earlier this month, I gave a webinar as part of the University of Auckland History Department's 2020 seminar series. Because this was delivered online, it was possible to record the session, which has since been made available to view . Abstract: Today, the street signs pay silent homage to the Pākehā politicians and soldiers responsible for its conquest and confiscation in the Waikato War of 1863-64. Grey, Cameron, Carey, Whitaker and other streets in the small Waikato town of Kihikihi taunt its many Māori residents with daily reminders of the devastating effects and consequences of that conflict felt over many generations. Drawing on research for a Marsden Fund project documenting how the New Zealand Wars are remembered and forgotten, this seminar traces the intersections of history, memory and myth in this Waikato frontier town.    Watch the video here:  

'I am an Irishman': Irish and Māori Historical Connections

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Just as exceptionalism has formed an enduring strand of American historiography, New Zealand history has its own variant of this. In New Zealand’s case, this rests largely on the notion that the Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 between representatives of Queen Victoria and more than 500 Māori chiefs represented a unique experiment in benevolent and humanitarian imperialism. Allied to this is often the notion that subsequent relations between the indigenous Māori tribes and incoming settlers were, after a few early hiccups, vastly superior to other white settler dominions. For much of the twentieth century Pākehā New Zealanders liked to boast that their country had the ‘greatest race relations in the world’. It turns out Māori had a different story to tell concerning the history of their relations with the newcomers. In recent decades New Zealand historians have played their own part in deconstructing these myths. Most historians now acknowledge that the Treaty of Waitangi had much