The Dog Tax Conflict 1898

A DigitalNZ Story by National Library of New Zealand Topics

Māori in Hokianga, Northland objected to paying a tax for their dogs, which led to an armed standoff in Rawene. No lives were lost. SCIS no. 1966346 

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Dog Tax

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Dog tax protest

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Group of militia at Rawene, Hokianga, during the Dog Tax War

In May 1898 Hone Toia made it clear that his people would resist paying the dog tax (and other taxes.) He also stated they would march in protest to Rawene with guns. The Government took this response as a serious threat and sent a force of armed soldiers, field guns and steamers to Hokianga under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Newall. The conflict was avoided when Hōne Heke Ngapua MP urged Hōne Tōia and his followers to surrender. Hone Toia was arrested on 6 May along with 15 others. He was sent to Mt Eden Prison for 18 months hard labour.

Group of militia at Rawene, Hokianga, during the Dog Tax Rebellion

Alexander Turnbull Library

Dog Tax War narrowly averted

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Toia, Hone Riiwi - Biography

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Biographies: Hōne Heke Ngāpua

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Skull of a kurī (native dog)

This is the skull of a kurī found at Roha-a-te-Kawau island pa. Kurī was a type of dog brought to New Zealand by the Polynesian ancestors of Māori. The dogs had a strong cultural attachment to Māori and featured in many native legends. Dogs were a source of food for Māori, their skins were prized and used for cloaks (kahu kuri) and the bones were made into fish hooks and ornaments. Kurī were also used for hunting birds.

Skull of kuri (native dog) found at Roha-a-te-kawau island pa, Horowhenua district.

Alexander Turnbull Library