Episode Three: When Worlds Collide 1642-1839
This episode of Frontier of Dreams recounts the story of the first contacts between Maori and Pakeha, as European explorers, adventurers and missionaries arrived in New Zealand. Accommodations, misunderstandings and conflicts were inevitable "when worlds collide."
We begin with the first European explorer to see New Zealand, Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company. His only encounter with Maori, in December 1642, ended in deadly conflict. It was more than a century later before James Cook of the British Royal Navy, would arrive here in the Endeavour.
We see a variety of interaction between Maori tribes and Cook and his crew as they sailed around New Zealand. There was fighting, but there was also trading, close observation and intimate relations.
Cook's positive reports brought other, more dangerous, Europeans to New Zealand, especially from the harsh convict colonies of Australia. We meet a female pirate, Charlotte Badger, who in 1806 lived with a chief in the Bay of Islands, and a ship's deserter, Jackie Marmon, who became a "Pakeha Maori" and a notorious cannibal.
European sealers and whalers were other early arrivals. We see John Guard settling at his whaling station in the Marlborough Sounds, along with his teenage wife. Their descendants remain to this day.
Adventurous Maori were soon sailing to Sydney and London. There they were befriended by missionaries who decided to "civilize" New Zealand. The episode shows how the missionaries struggled to convert the Maori. We watch one unhappy missionary as he is seduced, in body and mind, by Maori ways.
As a warrior race, Maori were attracted to European weapons. We see the famous Nga Puhi chief, Hongi Hika, arming his followers with muskets and devastating their enemies across the North Island. We then follow the raids of another great Maori general, Te Rauparaha, who conquered the lower North Island and much of the South Island.
The Musket Wars of the 1820s and 1830s were the most destructive internal conflict in New Zealand's history. The episode ends as some chiefs respond to these terrible upheavals by appealing to the British king to help New Zealand.