Musket wars , 'land wars' or tikanga (custom)? How are we to describe the destructive Maori inter-tribal warfare of the early nineteenth century? And just what is a musket war? Is the very term 'musket war' a misnomer? Can a 'musket war' be so defined only if wars were fought because Mari owned muskets, and for no other reason? Why were so many wars fought, especially in the early contact period? And why did the wars diminish?
Taua is the first major study of Mari warfare for decades. It asks the question- what if the nature of Maori society itself was the cause of the wars not the introduction of new and destructive military technology? Only after prolonged contact, argues Angela Ballara, did the cultural context of Maori warfare change.
Drawing on Maori writers and sources and not just on earlier Pakeha scholars, this book re-examines some fundamental questions. Ballara's fascinating new analysis is of vital importance at a time when issues of Maori land loss and redress are being debated in the public arena.