Peace-making in the Musket Wars
Forgiveness as a circuit-breaker
Author of Bible & Treaty (Penguin 2009), Beyond Betrayal (Penguin, 2013), Ratana the Prophet (Reed 2009)
Well before 1814; when Te Rongopai or Christ’s ‘good news’ message was first preached on New Zealand shores, growing musket power in the Far North was poised to forever change battlefield dynamics, inter-tribal relationships and boundaries.
It was only after more than 30-years of relentless attacks and counter attacks costing more lives than all Kiwis in World War 1, that relief was finally in sight as chiefs gathered to sign the Treaty of Waitangi from February 1840.
I propose it was the peace-making efforts of the missionaries, the printing and distribution of Bible books in te reo (the Maori language) and the eagerness of many chiefs to embrace the example of Jesus Christ (Ihu Karaiti), that were pivotal in countering the killing that wiped out up to 20 percent of the Maori population.