Irish Convict: New Zealand

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Tom O'Connor
November 2023
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By the time Maurice O'Brien reaches New Zealand, he is a mutineer and an escaped convict. Surviving in the so-called land of heathen savages and cannibals is as dangerous as New South Wales. Finding a home with the local Maori people in Hokianga is not too dissimilar to living in Ireland. It's certainly better than being a convict or shepherd, but it's not without its challenges. He must learn a new language and culture and provide for his young family. There are English men and competing missionaries here too, causing problems and upsetting Maurice's new found peace. An English enterprise, the New Zealand Company, owned by the Wakefield family, attempts to secure land in the Wairau, but it all turns terribly wrong when Te Rauparaha refuses to sell. The first armed conflict over land between Maori and Pakeha erupts at Tuamarina. Based on the true stories of New Zealand's early history before wide-spread European settlement. The few Pakeha living in New Zealand survived without the infrastructure or laws of their homeland. They traded, hunted whales, or lived as Maori did. Tom O'Connor is a historian and writer specialising in Maori and New Zealand history.