“…what use are blankets, soap, tools…” – Te Rauparaha

“Of what use are blankets, soap, tools and iron posts, when we are going to war?  What does it matter whether we die cold or warm, clean or dirty, hungry or full?  Give us two-barreled guns, plenty of muskets, lead, powder, cartridges, and cartouch-boxes”.

Te Rauparaha – Chief of the Ngati Toa iwi based on the Kapiti Coast.
* This was Te Rauparaha response to Colonel William Wakefield (brother of the director of the New Zealand Company and Canterbury co-founder, Edward Gibbon Wakefield) of the New Zealand Company who were buying up a lot of North Island land during the late 1830’s.  In 1840, the attempted arrest of Te Rauparaha (as he was leading attacks against the New Zealand Company’s surveyors) would lead to the murder of Arthur Wakefield, another Wakefield brother.

In 1831, Te Rauparaha, wanting the South Island’s greenstone supply, led massacres against  the Ngai Tahu Pa’s at Kaikai-a-waro (Kaiapoi), Kaikoura and Omihi in Akaroa Harbour.  This, along with the introduction of Europeans diseases such as measles, the Ngai Tahu population dropped into the low hundreds during the 1830’s and 1840’s and they became a very vulnerable iwi.

* Image of  Te Rauparaha courtesy of  http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz*

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