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A VERY VERY different New Zealand!

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The Rat:
The Dutch claim one island in the 17th centry, simultaneously another (European?) colonial power lands on and claims the other. Given the logistics of trying to carry on a protracted war at such a distance from the homeland, a tense peace ensues, and lasts until the early 20th century, when transportation and communication become fast enough for things to heat up.

Run with it.

I'll bite  Here's an alternative origins story. The point of divergence is contact between Tasman and the Maori ...


The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part One)

The islands of Aotarangi were first discovered (and settled) some 700 years ago to when it was discovered by Polynesians from the Tahitian island group. Europeans, in their search for 'terra australis incognita', arrived over 300 years later. Dutch sailors under explorer Abel Tasman were the first Europeans to see Te Wai-pounamu (Zuidereiland/South Island) on 13 December 1642 - three weeks after claiming Van Diemen's Land (Anthoonij van Diemenslandt). [1]

Tasman's ships - Heemskerck and Zeehaen, [2] sailed east from Anthoonij van Diemenslandt at the start of December. The land sighted - on the north-west coast of Zuidereiland - was named 'Staten Landt'. Rounding a point into what was called 'Bocht Zeehaen' (the Zeehaen Bight), [3] the flotilla encountered a small double-hulled waka fishing offshore. Although communication was nigh-on impossible, the presenting of gifts in the form of fish hooks and other metal objects made clear that the Dutch wished to trade. An exchange of sign language resulted in an offer by the natives to transport one Dutchman to shore to negotiate for potable water and wood needed for shipboard repairs.

Selected from volunteers, it was decided to send Gerard Janszoon (Master of the Zeehaen) and Cornelius Joppe (Quarter-Master) ashore. Later, this would be recognized as the first organized encounter between Europeans and the Maori iwi of Ngati Tumatakokiri at Mohua.  It turned out to be a peaceful and profitable exchange but that was not how it first seemed to Tasman's men. Janszoon and Joppe were greeted with a vigorous and highly-intimidating haka. A calming meal followed before negotiations could begin. Terms wer agreed as best they could and a landing was arranged on the sandy shores of Onetahua to allow the Dutch to replenish their stocks. Nearby was the future location of Vesting Zeelandia - the first Dutch fortification built in these islands.

(To be continued ...)


[1] Tasman was sailing for the Dutch East India Company or VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie).

[2] Heemskerck was a 120 ton warship commanded by Ide Holleman with Tasman aboard. She had a crew of 60 men and carried 120 guns. The 200 ton Zeehaen, commanded by Gerritt Jansz, was a transport with a 50-man crew.

[3] With further exploration, it was realized that this 'Bight' was a through-channel. Renamed Zeestraat Zeehaen (later simply Straat Zeehaen), this passage helped to establish that 'Staten Landt' was an island - separated from the Noordeiland and certainly not part of any 'terra australis incognita'

The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part Two)

Over the decades, repeated visits were made by Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie ships to what the Dutch called Goudenbaai. The object was to maintain potential trading relations with the Ngati Tumatakokiri. It was not until the Summer of 1666 that a small VOC-handelspost (trading post) was established at Mohua. The Dutch Republic was then at war with England but it would be another century before British ships began to regularly appear in these southern waters. Thus far, the VOC Gouvernor-Generaal en Raad (Governer-General and Council) noted, neither the Portuguese or Spanish posed any real threat to Dutch possessions in the IndiŽ. As near as Batavia could determine, the Portugees en Spaans remained unaware of the existence of the more remote islands which Tasman had now named Nieuw-Zeeland.

Through careful negotiation with the Ngati Tumatakokiri, the VOC's Goudenbaai trading post was expanded and fortified as Vesting Zeelandia. A stockade was completed by 1671, stone reconstruction beginning in the early 1710s. Attempts to begin independant trading with Maori peoples on the northern side of the Zeestraat Zeehaen were initially unsuccessful. Instead, the VOC relied upon Ngati Tumatakokiri intermediaries. Since this reduced company profits, trade with local iwi expanded on the Zuidereiland (South Island) much more quickly. By the late 1750s, VOC-handelsposten had been established as far south as the mouth of the Waimakariri River on the east coast. Another, more modest VOC-handelspost had even been set up at Hataitai on the southernmost tip of the Noordeiland (North Island).

Sea-Change - De Engelsen komen eraan! De Engelsen komen eraan!

By the early Summer of 1780, news had travelled south that unknown pakeha had been encountered in the far north of the Noordeiland. Eventually, word arrived that the English were now in Nieuw-Zeeland waters. More alarmingly, Batavia also announced the outbreak of the Vierde Engels-Nederlandse Oorlog (4th Anglo-Dutch War). Fortunately for the nascent VOC-handelsposten, the English navigator Captain James Cook would circumnavigate the Zuidereiland without directly encountering any of the Dutch outposts. This was just as well since the two nations were at war but there is nothing in Cook's sea logs to suggest that avoidance was intentional. [1]

British migration onto the North Island - or simple 'New Zealand' to the Brits - did not begin in earnest until the second decade of the nineteenth Century. During that period, the entire nature of the Dutch settlements on the Zuidereiland had changed completely. The Vierde Engels-Nederlandse Oorlog had drained the coffers of the VOC which teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Then, things then got more complicated. The Netherlands was successfully invaded by the French and the Batavian Republic established. In 1796, the VOC was nationalised and then, in 1799, the company was formally dissolved. The former VOC territory was declared to be the 'Gebiedsdeel Zuidereiland (South Island Territory) but locals refused to recognize the Batavian Republic. [2] In effect, Zuidereiland was on its own and a Gemenebest or Commonwealth was declared as an interim governing form.

Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland

With the formation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815, Dutch control was re-established and the 'Commonwealth' officially became the Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland.

Colonial administrative districts were as follows:

Koloniale Provincies (Dutch Colonial Provinces) [3]

Gou. = Goudenbaai (Golden Bay), capital (province & colony) Nieuw-Zandvoort (RW Nelson)
Vis. = Visscherlandt, capital Noordenhout / Northwood (RW Blenheim)
Mid. = Middenlandt, capital Nuytsstad (after explorer Pieter Nuyts, RW Christchurch);
NOF == Nieuw-Oost-Friesland, capital
Zui. = Zuidenland (Southland), capital Brouwersdorp, [1] (RW Invercargill)

The remaining areas were Koloniale jurisdicties - gubernatoriaal territories without administrative capitals. The local bewindvoerders (administrators) of each 'KJ' answered directly to the Koloniehoofd (Colony Chief Administrator) in Nieuw-Zandvoort who, in turn, reported to The Hague.

Koloniale Jurisdicties (Dutch Colonial Territories)

NWB = Noordwestelijk Bezit (North Western Possession), koloniale jurisdictie [2]
VWB = Verre Westelijk Bezit (Far Western Possession), koloniale jurisdictie [2]
ZWB =  Zuidwesten Bezit (Southwestern Possession), Gubernatoriaal territory ruled from Nieuw-Zandvoort

(To be continued ...)


[1] Unbeknownst to either the British or the Dutch, J-F-M de Surville commanding the Compagnie franÁaise pour le commerce des Indes orientales ship Saint Jean-Baptiste was also exploring the northern coast of the Noordeiland within weeks of Cook. Two years later, intent upon establishing 'France Australe' on the Noordeiland, French explorer M-J M du Fresne would be  killed and eaten by Maori at the Bay of Islands.

[2] Unlike the IndiŽ, Zuidereiland was never occupied by French troops (nor 'liberated' by the British).

[3] Real World equivalents are: Goudenbaai (RW Tasman), Nieuw-Zandvoort (RW Nelson); Visscherlandt (RW Marlborough), capital Noordenhout (RW Blenheim); Middenlandt (RW Canterbury), capital Nuytsstad (RW Christchurch); Nieuw-Oost-Friesland (RW Otago), capital Otepoti (RW Dunedin); and Zuidenland (RW Southland), capital Brouwersdorp (RW Invercargill). For the Colonial Territories: NWB (RW northern portion of West Coast); VWB (RW southern portion West Coast); and ZWB (RW northwestern part of Southland).

This is gob-stoppingly well done.

This is so "Man in the High Castle" where two alternate worlds exist... where else could all this "factual" detail come from.

Wow! Cheers buzz'  :D  (I'll have to look up "Man in the High Castle".)

I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing that The Rat had in mind ... but here's the next installment:


The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part Three)

Separated only by the narrow water body of the Straat Zeehaen - 'Cook Strait' to the Brits - it was inevitable that there would be tensions between the Dutch colony and the British possession. [1] However, the first serious clash began as 'tribal' in nature. In the Spring of 1828, the Ngati Toarangatira iwi under Te Rauparaha began crossing the Straat Zeehaen to make landings on Zuidereiland. The Ngati Toarangatira and its allies (mainly Ngati Rarua and Ngati Tama) seized territory along the flat beach lands north of the mouth of the Wairau River but continued raiding as far west as Sand Duining Hoeck (Farewell Spit).

To counter the Wairau  incursion, two Zuidereiland forces converged upon the area from west and south. From Nieuw-Zandvoort in the west came a force mainly comprised of mixed police units - Koloniale Politie and Kustlijn Patrouille - while boats manned by the volunteers of the Kustwacht Politie [2] made their way through Tasmanbaai and around West Hoofd point. From Vlasboerderij in the south came a hastily-organized volunteer force comprised of some local farmers and a majority of regional Maori toa (warriors). This southern force crossed over the Wairau River onto the Wairau Zandbank (Wairau Bar) and linked up with local toa before turning north. Skirmishing began almost immediately. [3] The 'politie' force from Nieuw-Zandvoort had a tougher time of it - having to first tramp through the Richmond Range to reach the battlegrounds.

The pakeha of the Vlasboerderij force were startled by the ferocity of their Maori toa colleagues. The toa had no fellow feeling for the northern Maori invaders and no quarter was given. However, the opposing Ngati Toarangatira  and Ngati Tama warriors appeared to be taken off guard by the strength of local opposition - clearly they were expecting easy conquest and settlement, not pitched battles. However, the invading forces was concentrating warriors along the northern edge of Bewolktebaai (Cloudy Bay) for their big, deciding push south. But that never happened. Northern waka (either belatedly crossing from the Noordeiland or returning from local reconaissance excursions) began running into the patrol boats the Kustwacht Politie out in Bewolktebaai. Some of the waka sluck past or fought their way through but many enemy toa were cut down by musket fire or their canoes were sunk. [4] Two days later, the main force from Nieuw-Zandvoort arrived and the net was drawn closed.

First Victory - de slag om de Rivierbocht

There is no need to recount details of the Battle of River Bend - the outcome of that famous battle is well-known. Few prisoners were taken and, as fighting forces, the Ngati Toa, Ngati Rarua, and Ngati Tama were rendered harmless for a generation to come. Whatever threat the Maori iwi of the Noordeiland may have represented evaporated. Te Rauparaha's crushing defeat at Rivierbocht led to a dwindling of the Ngati Toarangatira. No northern toa would ever again cross the Straat Zeehaen in their war waka. However, with the waning of the threat of tribal war came increasing tensions over trade.

Since the early 1760s, a small Zuidereiland trading post - first established as a VOC-handelspost - had operated at Hataitai on the southernmost tip of the Noordeiland. This outpost was an unexpected casualty of repulsing the Ngati Toarangatira invasion. A new hostility towards the 'Tatimana' ('Dutchmen') from North Island Maori limited trade in any case. But in 1830, British officials demanded this lonely handelspost be closed and ordered its operators to leave the country. This minor action would have a chilling effect on north-south relations in Nieuw-Zeeland for decades to come.

(To be continued ...)


[1] Noordeiland - 'New Zealand' to the Brits -  would not achieve British colony status until November of 1840.

[2] To modern eyes, the namings of Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland's police and para-military forces appears repetitive and confusing. Acronyms on cap badges helped to distinguish the units. 'KZP' was used for the colonial police because of their silver badge's prominent, central 'Z' (although the pedantically-correct acronym was actually 'KPZ' - standing for Koloniale Politie voor Zuidereiland). 'KLP' stood for Kustlijn Patrouille. 'KWP' was for Kustwacht Politie (which operated as a coastguard but also had Sheriff powers in concert with the 'KLP').

[3] The first clash came near the current site of the small Wairau Zandbank town of Groenesteen (Pounamu).

[4] These clashes are now seen as the birth of the modern navy - the 'KuWaPa' Kustwacht Patrouille.


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