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Maori indigenous resistance

Vincent O'Malley


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The indigenous people of New Zealand had no collective term to describe themselves prior to the colonization of their country. “Maori” at first meant simply “human,” but later came to refer to “normal” or “ordinary” people, as opposed to the altogether different European peoples encountered from the seventeenth century onwards. Although many Maori communities welcomed contact with the outside world, significant land loss, combined with their own political marginalization in the wake of formal British annexation in 1840, gave rise to a number of significant resistance movements. Some of these movements remain in existence today in different forms and continue to provide leadership in response to ongoing challenges. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman's fleeting encounter with Maori in 1642 ended in bloodshed in consequence of cross-cultural misunderstandings, and it was a further 127 years before the next Europeans ventured toward the shores of New Zealand. Further conflict sometimes ensued during the visits of James Cook and other explorers after 1769. Contact with outsiders nevertheless became a regular feature from this time onwards, increasing the likelihood of eventual colonization. By the early decades of the nineteenth century small numbers of whalers, traders, escaped convicts from Australia, and missionaries had established a permanent presence in parts of coastal New Zealand. They ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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