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Worlds collide

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Carronade, circa 1780, Carron Company (1770– ), Scotland. Purchased 1933. Te Papa

 
  • Explosive relations
  • 'Ship buster'
  • Broken relations
  • Flagging authority
  • Fighting figure
  • Double barrel, dual purpose
  • Mixed victory
  • Guns for decoration
  • Details of war
  • Weaving peace

'Ship buster'

The carronade (short-barrelled cannon) displayed here is a relic from the Boyd. This British ship was equipped for war with France. Its 14 carronades could fire heavy balls at short range, sparking their reputation as ‘ship busters’.

But the Boyd destroyed no French ships. Rather, it was destroyed in an incident of misunderstanding between Europeans and Māori. The attack was dismissed as Māori ‘barbarism’, adding weight to New Zealand’s reputation as the ‘Cannibal Isles’, unsuitable for European settlement.

In a cruel twist, the chief Te Pahi, who had helped the Boyd’s survivors, was wrongly accused of the massacre by European whalers. They attacked his village, killing some 60 people.