Ngāpuhi Divided

To Northland Māori the Battle of Ruapekapeka isn’t relegated to a distant past. From a Māori point-of-view 1846 was not very long ago. Great great grandchildren of those who fought in the battle are still alive, only four generations removed from the action. The histories are well remembered, and many Ngāpuhi today can recount stories of their own ancestors during the Northern War.

The Northern War exacerbated existing divisions within Ngāpuhi. Tāmiti Wāka Nene and his associates were rewarded for supporting the British. Nene himself received a cottage in Russell and an annuity of £100. He became a prominent advisor to Governor Grey and was held in high esteem in pākehā circles. At the same time, supporters of the “rebels” were suffering in the aftermath of the fighting. To this day, Ngāpuhi remember who provided assistance to the British. Among those whose ancestors fought with Heke and Kawiti, a shadow of resentment persists towards those who supported the Crown

However, ill-feelings have been diluted by marriages and children. Many Northland Māori have some ancestors who supported the Crown and others who fought against it. Intermarriage was not limited to opposing Māori factions. There are several known cases of a pākehā soldier marrying a Māori woman affiliated with those who fought against the British.