Born for War

New Zealand's Military History - A Family Perspective

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Hongi's Hikoi - Rangatira in Ranana (London)
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Goal: $50000.00 | Raised: $0.00 Started: August 1, 2014
Ended: August 2, 2015


A documentary based on famed Maori Rangatira (Chief) Hongi Hika's journey from the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, to England in 1819-1820, with CMS Missionary Thomas Kendall and fellow Ngapuhi chief Waikato.

Hongi wanted to view London and learn about modern technology, and had a penchant for firearms, particularly muskets. Thomas Kendall was a missionary, who wanted a higher calling, and so, believed that by taking Hongi to meet the King and other influential people, he would be appointed a priest. Waikato, a junior chief, was sent to assist and accompany Hongi on his journey.

Whilst in London, Hongi was granted an audience with King George IV (King George III having passed prior to Hongi's arrival), and was provided with a tour of the Royal Armoury within the Tower of London, as well as the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. King George gifted the chief a number of items including a suit of chain-mail armour and a helmet.

Hongi also stayed at Queen's College, within the University of Cambridge, where he assisted Professor Samuel Lee, a noted linguist, to compile the first Maori-English dictionary. Whilst at Cambridge, Hongi also met Frenchman, Baron deThierry, who wished to acquire a sizeable tract of land in New Zealand; with an idea to claiming sovereignty of that territory for France, and becoming the official French figurehead of those lands. Hongi and deThierry conducted a transaction, whereby they agreed to trade 40,000 acres of land near Hokianga, for a large number of muskets, powder and shot. 

During his return voyage, Hongi would collect these weapons in Port Jackson (Sydney), and make threats of revenge against two chiefs from Ngati Maru and Ngati Paoa, who were visiting the Reverend Samuel Marsden in Parramatta. 

On his return to New Zealand, Hongi Hika brought with him a vast cache of fireams and ammunition and the face of warfare in New Zealand would change forever - the sanginous Musket Wars would begin!


To raise at least NZD$50,000 to assist with the filming of a number of re-enactments and pre/post-production for the documentary. This includes site filming fees, actors, props/costumes, film, sound and light equipment and associated staff.


Re-enactments have already been filmed in London and Cambridge, United Kingdom in January 2014; as well as on an 1800s tall ship in Sydney Harbour in July 2014.

The remaining re-enactments, interviews and footage will be filmed in New Zealand in 2014-2015.

It is hoped that the documentary will be ready for release in late 2015 or early 2016.

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