Kingitanga and Crown
New Zealand’s Maori King movement and its relationship with the British monarchy
in Crowns and colonies
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In 1858 the first Maori King was installed. Although Europeans commonly depicted the Kingitanga (the Maori King movement) as a challenge to British sovereignty over New Zealand, supporters saw nothing incompatible between allegiance to their own indigenous monarch and ongoing adherence to the person of Queen Victoria (colonial governments were another matter). For Maori the relationship was a deeply personal bond, cemented through the Treaty of Waitangi that had established Victoria as a great chief of New Zealand. Long after the British government had ceased to have any meaningful role in the governance of New Zealand, Kingitanga supporters continued to look to the monarch to honour the undertakings entered into on Queen Victoria’s behalf at Waitangi in 1840. This belief in a special relationship with the British royal family survived war and land confiscations in the 1860s and endures today, giving rise to Queen Elizabeth II’s unprecedented involvement in a 1995 apology to the Kingitanga for past Crown actions.

Crowns and colonies

European monarchies and overseas empires


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