The New Zealand Wars | Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa

Book Author Vincent O’Malley
Rights Available World Excl NZ

The New Zealand Wars were a series of conflicts that profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation’s history. Fought between the Crown and various groups of Māori between 1845 and 1872, the wars touched many aspects of life in nineteenth century New Zealand, even in those regions spared actual fighting. Physical remnants or reminders from these conflicts and their aftermath can be found all over the country, whether in central Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, or in more rural locations such as Te Pōrere or Te Awamutu.

The wars are an integral part of the New Zealand story but we have not always cared to remember or acknowledge them. Today, however, interest in the wars is resurgent. Public figures are calling for the wars to be taught in all schools and a national day of commemoration was recently established.

Following on from the best-selling The Great War for New Zealand, Vincent O’Malley’s new book provides a highly accessible introduction to the causes, events and consequences of the New Zealand Wars. The text is supported by extensive full-colour illustrations as well as timelines, graphs and summary tables.


About the Author
Vincent O’Malley is a founding partner of HistoryWorks, a group of historians specialising in Treaty of Waitangi research. He is the author of a number of books on New Zealand history including The Meeting Place: Māori and Pākehā Encounters, 1642–1840 (Auckland University Press, 2012), which was shortlisted in the general non-fiction section at the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2013, and Beyond the Imperial Frontier: The Contest for Colonial New Zealand (Bridget Williams Books, 2014).

Dr O’Malley’s landmark book on the Waikato War, The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000, was published to acclaim in 2016. Spanning nearly two centuries from first contact through to settlement and apology, this remarkable and best-selling history focuses on the human impact of the war in the Waikato, its origins and aftermath.

It was followed in 2019 by The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa, another best-seller that provides a highly accessible introduction to the causes, events and consequences of the New Zealand Wars.

With Professor Joanna Kidman, he is co-Principal Investigator on the Marsden Fund project ‘He Taonga te Wareware? Remembering and Forgetting Difficult Histories in Aotearoa/New Zealand’, a three-year study into how the nineteenth century New Zealand Wars have helped shape memory, identity and history.


Bridget Williams Books


230 x 170mm


Non Fiction


Age range
Young Adult & Upwards

Publication Date
May 2019

Rights Available:
World (ex NZ)

Rights Agents:


Tom Rennie, Bridget Williams Books

Contact Bridget Williams Books about this book

The book title link will automatically be added to your message.

The distinctive character of this work is its use of the recent research conducted for the Waitangi Tribunal. The tribunal research significantly informs the discussion of the origins of particular conflicts. The sense of broken promises and unfair pretexts on the part of Pākehā governments is well presented . . . this is a fine work which should be of use for people who know very little about the New Zealand Wars and should be of particular value in schools.

Jock Phillips, Historian

I believe Vincent O'Malley's research will be the single most important historical body of work produced in my lifetime. Finally we have a narrative which carefully weaves both the accounts of the British Colonial government with those of hapū rangatira. While not all New Zealanders are ready to confront our past, this work will serve as a taonga for future generations. He mahi taipari whakarewa waka ngā whakaaro tēnei.

Mihingarangi Forbes, Journalist

The beauty of this book is that the well-written chapters are supported by high quality pictures, maps and images of important artefacts from the time. Additional graphs and information also enhance a quality piece of work. O’Malley does well to pick out some of the smaller, near-forgotten, stories of these conflicts, such as Te Ahuahu in Northland, Hauraki and Hūnua, Rotoiti and Te Ngutu-o-te-manu, thereby ensuring that these important events are remembered. That said, he also does justice to some of the better-known battles, such as Ruapekapeka, Wairau, Rangariri, Orakau, Pukehinahina/Gate Pā, Turuturumōkai and Ngātapa.

Carl Bradley, New Zealand Journal of History

When this book arrived my initial reaction was, "Do we really need another potted history of the New Zealand Wars?" After reading it my answer is "Yes, we really do need this one."... O'Malley calmly and persuasively outlines the background to each cluster of conflicts, what fighting took place and what the outcomes were, all of it marvelously illustrated with contemporary pictures.

New Zealand Herald