Like the previous one, this chapter seeks to examine the initiation and development of violence within inter-group transactions, and to identify the contribution to that violence of particular social actors via their decision-making and discourse-generation capacities. It is argued that these issues were crucial to whether or not transactions turned violent, whether the violence was perpetuated, and what caused it to cease. Teninstances of how violence played out between Māori groups in Te Wai Pounamu have already been analysed (Chapter five, p. 95), and some key triggers that initiated them were found to have been actions that contained some, or all of the following aspects seen to be a threat to personal relationships and mana:


• Jealousy, arrogance, deception; also loyalty, choice and risk-taking.

• Close personal relationships (including with women), and alliance-building. • Resources including land, slaves, women and tāonga as representing


• Strategic provocation, threats, insults, mis-representations of others and the

requirement for utu.

How these played out in detail was illustrated in Chapter five through available

interpretations of the first Kaiapoi conflict between Māori groups. A similar analysis has now been carried out for situations where interactions between Māori and Europeans have become violent. This kind of situation has already been described so far in this thesis for two cases. Chapter two has described the 1769 arrival of J. F-M. de Surville at Doubtless Bay, Northland, where a serious situation arose in which aspects of mistaken and mis-informed decision

making by Surville were involved. It resulted in what, from a European perspective, was the kidnap of an innocent chief, accusations of theft, and excessive violent destruction of Māori life and property. All these were exacerbated by Surville’s ambition as much as they were by his “Enlightenment” world-view. The introductory chapter and chapter four have described the 1840 intrusion of the New Zealand Company representative Arthur Wakefield onto the Wairau lands, the mana whenua of which was held at the time by Ngāti Toa who had not sold them. The situation that arose from the surveying of these lands was resisted by Ngāti Toa leaders Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata, and resulted in an invasion by Wakefield with armed

conscripts, the death of some innocent bystanders, of some European conscripts, and of Wakefield. Again, it was a situation of mistaken, mis-informed decision-making, and

generation of biased discourse by one ambitious and (in one sense) well-meaning man having ‘Enlightenment’ world-views that contrasted with Māori ones. These two cases – Surville’s visit to Doubtless Bay and the “Wairau Affray”– appear to have had similar initiating circumstances in common with the inter-iwi conflicts already described; decision-making by individuals with particular ambitions, motives and modus operandi.

For this current Chapter six, ten further(Māori-European) conflicts were analysed to establish whether or not the same set of initiating circumstances also held true for them. The cases were:

Tupaia & Cook at Turanganui – Fear of theft, shooting, utu


Tupaia, Cook, Banks at Queen Charlotte Sound – shooting, theft, misunderstanding Du Fresne at Bay of Islands – Theft, tapu infringed, tohu, utu because of wehi

Cook & J. R Forster at Dusky Sound – no violence- dialogue, chief removed tapu, no utu Furneaux, Bayly & Burney at QCS – perceived threat, theft, tohu, utu,wehi

Caddell, Tokitoki & Te Pahi at Foveaux – murder, utu, saved by mauri of cloak Kelly, Tucker, Matehaere for perceived wrongs & Korako at Otakou- utu

Perkins, Boultbee, Tutoko & Kahaki at Open Bay – fear, death, utu

Rangihaeata, Rauparaha, Wakefield, Thompson at Wairau – land theft, utu

With any analysis of conflict sequences the historical and intergenerational contexts are important, but in the analysis of the fourteen examples used to establish the range of initiating circumstances, it was primarily the immediate circumstances that were used as a basis for comparison. For all the Maori- European examples, the key trigger initiating factors are within the same range, as for the inter-iwi conflicts. The bias they have been given within the largely European records is different, as would be expected because of the European frame of

reference used by their narrators. Nevertheless, the possibility of indigenous interpretations of the actions of particular actors is clearly evident, and some local Māori interpretations are also available. Particular personality characteristics and personal relationships, including those of ‘outsiders’ play key roles in the initiating circumstances, as do resources and utu or payment. Provocation as a deliberate strategy although it is still present, becomes less evident, and is frequently replaced by an assumption by both parties that each had the same value and

knowledge systems (which they didn’t). Evaluation of the detail for particular cases where the data is richer reinforces the role of ‘outsiders’ as mediators at transition points in the violent sequences. These people may be insiders as well, as in the case of tōhunga for example; they are peoples’ relatives within the tribe, but they are not ‘ordinary’ members of the tribe. The same would apply to ship’s captains. On the other hand they may be of lowly rank, but move between ranks entering the private spaces of both parties because of their position (as do slaves, for example). In the inter-cultural arena they are even more valuable. Hakitara at the first Kaiapoi skirmish already described in the previous chapter was a visitor at Kaiapoi, but in a sense he mediated their defence because he overheard and exposed the plans of their

enemies. Blok’s view that these people have the potential to make contributions as translators and mediators, in a social as well as a linguistic sense, is illustrated in the case studies that follow.


In document Between people and things: understanding violence and theft in early New Zealand transactions (Page 162-165)