Two large tribes, the Ngapuhi and the Arawa, in the Waikato and Rotorua regions, were friendly to the Pakeha.
Other tribes, coming to an assembly called at Matata in 1864, asked to cross Arawa land, which the Arawa refused, and the British sent Major Colville, with 200 men, to help the Arawa withstand the rebel tribes who were determined to cross anyway.
Skirmishes led to the bringing up of the battleships "HMS Falcon" and "Sandfly", and their shelling helped drive the rebels back.
A Captain McDonnell, with a force of Forest Rangers, and Arawa warriors chased the rebels to Tauranga, but the rebels disappeared into the bush.
The Ngaiterangi were living in that area, and they were sympathetic to the rebels - a chief, Rawiri Puhirake, issued a challenge to single armed battle with Lt/Col Greer, but Greer would not or could not accept.
At Orakau, Rawiri then built Pukehinahina pa, known in English as Gate pa, closer to the British, and again issued his challenge.
It was again ignored by Greer.
Cameron then arrived with 1700 men and artillery to use against the Ngaiterangi at Gate pa, and in April 1864 the British soldiers completely surrounded the pa. They thought to stop the flow of supplies to rebels inland as well as take the pa.
Artillery then pounded the pa on April 29th. There was some loss to the British from "friendly fire" as soldiers on one side shooting at the pa, hit their own men on the other side. This bombardment was the most sustained and the largest of all in the Land Wars.
A frontal attack by 300 soldiers drove into the pa, but the resistance by 230 warriors concealed in trenches was fierce and determined - the leaders were killed, and the British retreated. The warriors had used weak-looking fortifications to basically trick the British into attacking, whereupon they were ambushed.
In the night, the Maori slipped away, and Rawiri threw up another fort at Te Ranga.
Henare Taratoa, subsequently killed at Te Ranga, had issued orders to his warriors that unarmed or wounded enemy were to be respected - he is thought to have taken water into the lines between the armies to comfort the wounded. Heni Te Kirikaramu was a Maori woman who did take water to dying British soldiers. At Te Ranga, the British avenged Gate pa - Rawiri was killed nearby.
Greer overwhelmed the rebel warriors, who surrendered.
Grey's strategies did not destroy the King movement, but it was weakened. That was insufficient for Grey however, and he planned new strategies. Sir Frederick Rogers of the British Colonial Office had advocated flattery and bribes, standard British weapons:
"The Maoris' .. minds should be diverted .. by the exhibition of the power and dignity and pay with which we are prepared to give to their chiefs .. this is no new mode but .. has succeeded .. with Indian rajahs, medieval feudatories and African chiefs"
On another front, the Native Land Court was enacted in 1865, and the Confiscation Scheme as well.
The Native Land Court was cunning, from the British point of view. The Court could give title of land to 10 tribe members who could then sell it. Debt, pressure, blackmail, many were the reasons why a tribe member might want to earn money, and the Crown would back up it's new land title purchases with force.
Confiscation on the other hand, cost nothing. It was land grabbed to pay for the recent military activity.
In fact, even though the Government admitted responsibility for the first outbreak of war in Taranaki, it confiscated the Waitara block anyway.
Within the European communities, there were people who went over to the Maori side, and on the Maori side, there were chiefs and warriors who sided with the Pakeha, sometimes to protect their own interests, and sometimes from necessity.
The country was not like a European theatre of war, with two distinct nations facing each other across a battlefield and front lines.
Rather, it was a jigsaw of Pakeha and Maori controlled areas, and the more that the other race surrounded an area required more delicate maneouvering.
Then there were Maori who periodically changed allegiances, to protect their own territories, and to avenge past insults. It was in many ways like the England that Rome had invaded, and failed to unify - the divisions were deep.
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