Author(s): Dorothy Urlich-Cloher
This biography of Hongi Hika of Ngapuhi describes intimately the first continuous contact between Maori and European. The foremost Maori leader during the early years of European settlement, Hongi Hika led Ngapuhi on their devastating raids during the Musket Wars. Thousands of Maori were killed using the new weapons, and tribal power balances were radically altered. Hongi Hika is also important because he spans the old world and the new. He was a charismatic fighting chief of the old school, brutal when required - he participated in ritualistic cannibalism as a matter of course. But he also befriended European missionaries such as Samuel Marsden and Thomas Kendall, spoke English, and held his own at the English court during his visit to London.