From the earliest days of the European settlement of New Zealand, argues Danny Keenan, Maori struggled to hold on to their land. When bloody open warfare between Maori tribes and Imperial forces broke out in the 1840s and then again in the 1860s, the struggle for land was at the heart of the conflict. Thus the name Land Wars.
This new book on the Land Wars approaches the subject from the point of view of the Maori protagonists. Written by a senior Maori historian, Wars Without End describes Maori reasons for going to war and places the fighting in the context of the struggle for land.
The book also deals unflinchingly with a key aspect of the wars: that some kiwi sided with the colonial forces and that some of the fighting was actually Maori against Maori. Why? Keenan analyses this aspect in some depth.
The Land Wars were quickly forgotten by the country at large, says Danny Keenan, but for Maori they were to be long remembered, as tribes struggled in different ways to recover lands taken by the Crown.