Navigation for NZ Wars: Stories of Wairau

Series Classification: PG (Parental Guidance)
Produced for RNZ by Aotearoa Media Collective and Great Southern Television | Made with the support of NZ On Air.


NZ Wars: Stories of Wairau is the fourth chapter in RNZ’s award-winning documentary series on the New Zealand Wars. The Wairau Affray in 1843 is considered the first of the the NZ Wars conflicts, and the only one to take place in the South Island.

NZ Wars: Stories of Wairau documents the clash between renowned Ngāti Toa fighting chiefs, Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata, and the notorious New Zealand Company, which resulted in the loss of life and land.

The video documentary examines the events that led to this conflict and its consequences, which continue to reverberate nearly two centuries on. Using dramatic re-enactments, interviews, historical records, haka, and digital storytelling, NZ Wars: Stories of Wairau brings to life the first-hand narratives of tangata whenua and tangata tiriti, which have been passed down through the generations.

Presented by Mihingarangi Forbes and featuring Dr Vincent O’Malley, alongside esteemed iwi historians Sir Matiu Rei, Kahu Ropata, Miria Pomare, and Lloyd Carpenter, NZ Wars: Stories of Wairau explores the events that shaped our country and their ongoing influence in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand.