To New Zealand for Land: The Timber Industry, Land Law, and Māori Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand

  • Andrew Johnston University of Victoria


This paper analyzes the influences of the timber industry on the development of the colony of New Zealand and its land law during the nineteenth century, especially in regard to the dispossession of the indigenous Maori population from the Kauri forests of the North Island. By conducting a case study of Mangakāhia v the New Zealand Timber Company, Ltd. (1882), this paper illustrates the manner by which Maori landowners were increasingly barred from full legal status by the New Zealand courts, and how the economic and political power of the timber industry allowed the Court of Appeals to essentially dismiss Mangakāhia’s case out of hand.

Author Biography

Andrew Johnston, University of Victoria
Andrew Johnston is currently a Masters of History student at the Univesity of Victoira. This paper was written in conjunction with the deparments of history and law.