Waikato, known for its rich, fertile farmland, was the scene of significant battles during the Land Wars of the mid-19th century. It is here that early missionary activity encouraged the Maori to adopt Pakeha farming methods.
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For ten months during 1863-1864, the once-peaceful hills and plains of Waikato rang with battle cries and the boom of warships. At stake was some of the North Island’s most fertile farmland around the Waikato and Waipa rivers. When the smoke cleared, the British had seized more than one million acres of tribal territory, and the door open to Pākehā control of the North Island.