In the previous thread JM keeps trying to convince me that the colonial experience in this country was a “war” and I keep resisting that suggestion because I just don’t think that it qualifies as such by any meaningful definition.
War is an organized, armed, and often a prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of political violence. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war, (and other violence) is usually called peace.
By way of contrast just look at the way that the Maori actaully fought for their territory against the British, now that was a real war:
The first British action of the Flagstaff War was the capture and destruction of Pomare’s Pa near Kororareka. This was a substantial Māori settlement, so to the British it was a victory, but the Māori warriors escaped with their arms, so they did not see it as defeat.
The British then set out to do the same to Kawiti’s Pa at Puketapu. But this was a purpose-built strong point with only one objective; to invite attack by the British. It was several kilometres inland, across very difficult country—steep gullies, dense, bush-clad hills and thick, sticky mud. The British troops were already exhausted when they arrived in front of the pa. The next day, they made a frontal attack and discovered that the bush and gullies they were advancing through were full of warriors. Some British troops reached the palisade and discovered that attacking thick wooden walls with muskets was not effective. After several hours of costly but indecisive skirmishing, the British withdrew. Their Māori kupapa allies were able to feed them and they were not attacked by their Māori enemies on the retreat back to the coast.
The attack on Puketapu Pa was typical of Māori-British warfare. Māori would build a fortified pa, sometimes provocatively close to a British fort or redoubt, and the British would attack it. Their aim was always to bring Māori to battle to inflict a decisive defeat. In European warfare, besieging an enemy fortress usually provoked a battle. However, Māori also knew that they would probably lose heavily in open conflict; this had been the result on the few times that it happened. Generally, they were successful in avoiding it.
Notice the difference between the New Zealand experience and that in this country? There the Maori actively made efforts to resist with a clear leadership structure, and the built and used the techniques of war, had a warrior culture and the social disciple to use it. Is it any wonder that even though they did not succeed in excluding the British form their territory they did end up with far more favourable terms for peace and reconciliation because they actually fought for it?