Author(s): Don Stafford
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Hongi Hika's invasion of the Rotorua area in 1823 is one of the most dramatic and daring assaults in New Zealand history. Armed with muskets, Hongi's forces had roamed the North Island seeking utu (revenge) for past slights. Te Arawa, inland and with their island stronghold of Mokoia on Lake Rotorua, felt impregnable. They did not count on Hongi's determination - which led to an epic portage of canoes to the lake shores, from which an attack on Mokoia became inevitable. A Wild Wind from the North not only tells the story with Stafford's flair and sense of drama, but is also richly illustrated, including modern photos of the locations depicted. Launch of the book in 2007 occasioned a major meeting of Ngapuhi and Te Arawa that aided reconciliation for the past conflict.
Don Stafford (1927-2010) was an historian and writer who dedicated his life and work to the Rotorua district. Through a long and distinguished career, he wrote over 20 books on Rotorua and its history. Fluent in Maori, Don travelled on foot to every corner of Te Arawa's rohe, and played a major role in preservation of historical sites and objects. He was Rotorua's official historian, and his honours included an MBE, CBE and honorary doctorate.