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Military Settlement in the Middle Waikato Basin

Military settlement formed a brief but distinctive phase in the European occupation of the Middle Waikato Basin. Prior to the 1863 - 1864 Waikato War, few Europeans, other than a small number of missionaries and traders, were settled in the region. The setting of the Middle Waikato Basin was largely unmodified by Man, except along the major rivers where a dense Maori population was settled. During the 1850's, the encroachment of European settlers upon Maori tribal lands in many North Island regions, including the Waikato, led to an increase in tension between the two populations and open conflict. This conflict slowed down the progress of colonization in the North Island. To enable colonization to continue in those regions disturbed by Maori unrest, a scheme of military settlement was devised. The aim of this scheme was the formation of compact, self-sufficient defensive settlements to act as a deterrent to Maori unrest. These settlements would also provide an assurance to settlers of security for their life and property. Military settlement in the Middle Waikato Basin consisted of two phases. In the first phase, the nodal points of the military settlements, the townships, were established and occupied by the military settlers. In the second phase, farm districts were surveyed around the nodal points and the military settlers moved out from the townships to occupy and develop the land they were allocated. A number of factors, relating to deficiencies in the scheme of military settlement and to the particular problems of settlement in the region, contributed to the failure of the military settlers to successfully establish farms on the land they were allocated. The scheme of military settlement largely failed as a method of colonization in the Middle Waikato Basin. However, the pattern of human occupation, established in the initial phase of military settlement, remained when the need for defensive settlements had gone, and forms the basis of the present pattern of settlement.
Type of thesis
Allen, P. D. H. (1969). Military Settlement in the Middle Waikato Basin (Thesis, Master of Philosophy (MPhil)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10570
University of Waikato
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