New Zealand Wars

The last wars occurred in New Zealand in the mid-19th century, when Maoris and settlers fought in bloody disputes over land distribution. The remote country has also been involved in conflicts in other areas of the world. New Zealand soldiers participated in both world wars and fought on America’s side in the Vietnam War.

Maori war traditions

There have been wars in New Zealand since people were there. The Maori are a warlike people whose many tribes regularly fought each other. Their war rituals are a tradition handed down to this day and are kept alive. The haka, the preparation for battle, is world famous. The warriors follow a given choreography and call out battle cries. Today, Hakas are an integral part of New Zealand culture and are often performed. The Queen of England is presented with a haka on a state visit, as does the sports-loving audience before a rugby match of the All Blacks national team . Typical of the haka is, besides stamping and screaming, the threatening grimace of the Maori with wide eyes and sticking out tongue.

The Musket Wars

From the beginning there were bloody conflicts between the tribes, some of which are said to have been connected with cannibalism. The first white settlers settled in New Zealand in the early 19th century. They introduced a new way of life for the Maori. One aspect of this way of life was the guns. The Maori quickly recognized the deadly effect of western firearms, and it wasn’t long before some tribes got them in exchange for other goods. The Musket Wars (Musket Wars)began. Initially only a secret weapon of a few tribes, the muskets gave the Maori clashes a new, bloody dimension. Between 1818 and 1833, tribes on both islands slaughtered each other and significantly reduced the number of their people.

The Maori Wars

There were also clashes and conflicts between Maori and settlers. This culminated in the period after the signature of the Waitangi Treaty, when the influx of immigrants from England swelled and thousands of new residents raised claims to land in the new colony. The so-called Maori Wars lasted from 1843 to 1872 and were fought by the Maori, the settlers and the British army. The Maori, who by signing the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 had transferred their land to the English crown, but had been granted incontestable property rights, resisted the expropriation or selling below price. However, they did not form a closed war party, but were split up into many groups, some of which also joined the British side.

According to ebizdir, the British government had been militarily represented in New Zealand by some divisions of imperial troops since 1840. In 1846 an armed constabulary (police) was set up to keep the peace. They replaced the imperial troops. The conflicts continued.

The New Zealand Militia and the ANZAC

In 1858 the Militia Act was passed, which made it possible to assemble your own specifically military troops. In 1872 it became the New Zealand Militia . New Zealand had an army. Since then, it has only become active outside of New Zealand.

Just a few years later, in 1899, the New Zealand army had its first deployment abroad: A contingent took part on the side of the English in another colony: the Boer War raged in South Africa (1899 to 1902), an uprising originally by Dutch settlers who did not want to submit to the new colonial power Great Britain.

The First World War led to the next mission. On August 29, 1914 New Zealand declared war on Germany and marched with 1,413 men into Samoa, then a German colony. 8,417 soldiers, all of them volunteers, set out for Europe. They landed in Egypt, where they teamed up with the Australian Army and formed the ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) under the leadership of General WILLIAM RIDDELL BIRDWOOD.

The most important theater of war from an Australo-New Zealand perspective was undoubtedly Gallipoli, a Turkish peninsula, where ANZAC held out from April to December 1915 and fought on the side of the English and French against the Turkish army. Although the New Zealand soldiers, including a Maori battallion,who later fought in other places as well, for example in Palestine and France, the New Zealand population of Gallipoli has burned itself most strongly into the collective consciousness. To this day, the fallen compatriots are commemorated on April 25th, ANZAC Day. 2,721 New Zealanders died in the First World War.

The Second World War saw New Zealand participation from the start. 104,000 soldiers were involved; In March 1944, 70,000 New Zealand soldiers were deployed outside the country. New Zealand declared war on Germany in September 1939. In 1940 the specially formed Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force landedin Egypt. New Zealand soldiers fought in Greece and Italy, and a large proportion were also deployed in the Pacific region. The many soldiers who held positions at home to protect the country against possible attacks from the surrounding area, such as Japan, must not be forgotten.

Although “only” 11,625 New Zealanders were killed in World War II, the country was heavily burdened by its losses. In fact, New Zealand was found to have the highest death rate in the Commonwealth, measured by population.

The ANZUS security pact

The participation in the Korean War (1950 to 1953) was far less dramatic. In 1951 New Zealand signed the ANZUS (Australia New Zealand US) security pact with Australia and the USA , which America was supposed to suspend in the 1980’s. The agreement stipulated that the countries would support each other if necessary. This led to New Zealand participation in the Vietnam War. Despite strong protests from the population, the government sent 3,256 soldiers to Vietnam over the years. From 1965 to 1971 they fought alongside the Americans. It was the longest conflict to date in which New Zealand soldiers were involved, the first in which New Zealand did not fight on the side of England, and the last major military operation so far. Today the New Zealand Army is involved in humanitarian operations and UN missions around the world.

New Zealand Wars