Musket Wars (1810-1830s)

Where can I find information about the Musket Wars?

Image: Earle, Augustus, 1793-1838 :War speech by Augustus Earle from Alexander Turnbull Library

Entry last updated: 03/09/21


The Musket Wars (1810 to 1830s) were a series of battles between Māori tribes throughout New Zealand. They began after Pākehā brought muskets (ngutu pārera) to Aotearoa New Zealand in the nineteenth century.

General Websites

Have a look through these websites for information about the Musket Wars.


NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

To find the information about the musket wars, follow this pathway:

  • From the homepage, choose New Zealand at War.
  • Then, under the heading New Zealand's Internal Wars you will see a link to the Musket Wars.
  • To view images and media about the Musket Wars, check out the link down the right hand side of the page to All images and media for Musket Wars.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is another excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • From the homepage, go to Government and Nation.
  • Next, choose War and Defence.
  • Then choose Musket Wars.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

This website is part of Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand and has biographies about people from New Zealand's history, including people relevant to the Musket Wars.

Use the search bar to:

  • Enter the name of a person involved in the Musket Wars
  • or the keywords 'Musket Wars,'
  • then select an article eg Hongi Hika.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [Musket Wars]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

New Zealand Wars

This website look at aspects of the wars fought between Māori and the Crown through the 19th Century. To find the page about the Musket Wars:

  • under the heading The Land Wars select first Histories Past and Present,
  • and then the link at the bottom of the introduction to the The Musket Wars.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Radio New Zealand (RNZ)

Radio New Zealand is a trusted source of broadcasts, podcasts and series on news and current affairs. It also has some interesting programmes on New Zealand history.

  • Select the tab Podcasts & Series.
  • Go to The Aotearoa History Show.
  • Check out Episode 3: Early Encounters for information about the impact the Musket Wars had on Māori.


Ask at your local or school library for some of these books, or see if your librarian has suggestions for others!

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