The Waikato War: Settler Rights and Production
This is the first of two chapters looking at responses to the Waikato War. It introduces the context in which some 3000 Australian colonists came to participate in the war in New Zealand. It argues that the war presented Australian newspapers with a chance to assert the purpose and validity of the settler project. It did this primarily through appeals to the language of British rights, the necessity of British investment in colonial material production, and assumptions about land ownership denied to Indigenous peoples. The question of whether Britain should invest in the colonies, or whether they were more trouble than they were worth was fervently debated in the British press. This debate was anxiously read by Australian colonists wanting assurance that they would receive Britain protection and funding in future conflicts of their own. Where this was not forthcoming, the settler press emphasised the trans-settler interests of the antipodean colonists.