The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 marked the end of old Aotearoa and the start of modern New Zealand, as the Maori agreed to place themselves under the protection of the British queen. But the promises made to the Maoris were soon broken, as ships full of settlers arrived. By 1856 there were more Pakeha than Maori in New Zealand. The Maori tribes did not want to sell any more land to them and there was fighting between the two peoples. This fighting is called the Land Wars. Some tribes were called rebels against the government and their tribal lands were confiscated by the settler government.
This was a bad time for the Maori people. They had no resistance against the new diseases brought by the Pakeha. Weakened by war and disease, the Maori population was becoming smaller and smaller while the Pakeha were increasing and was often predicted to disappear soon. But the Maori did not die. They recovered from most shocks of the nineteenth century. Maoritanga – Maori custom and belief – is still strong in New Zealand. However, the Maori are only a minority of the population now, outnumbered by the Pakeha almost ten to one.