Showing posts from April, 2016

Gate Pā and the Māori Rules of War

The New Zealand Wars fought between 1860 and 1872 were a time of acute tension and conflict in the nation’s history. But the wars were not without genuine examples of mutual respect among the contending Māori and British troops, along with occasional acts of great compassion and kindness towards enemy fighters. In the Tauranga district a remarkable document that bore some striking similarities with the First Geneva Convention signed months later in Switzerland also emerged during this period. In January 1864 several hundred British troops landed at Tauranga in response to reports that local iwi were providing support to Waikato Māori who had been under attack since July 1863. It soon became apparent that the war was almost certain to spread to Tauranga. Local chiefs accordingly issued a series of challenges to the British, in accordance with Māori beliefs that fighting should be conducted in an open, honourable and brave manner. Along with these invitations to fight ca