Soldiers, Scouts and Spies: A Military History of the New Zealand Wars 1845–1864

  • Vincent O'Malley


Military historian Cliff Simons says one of the inspirations for Soldiers, Scouts and Spies was “hearing a well-known Pākehā host on national radio vehemently declare that ‘Māori never lost a battle’” during the New Zealand Wars (21). At its launch, fellow military historian Richard Taylor described the new book as a “watershed publication” that marked a new era in research on the New Zealand Wars, supplanting the allegedly flawed work of James Belich.[i] It is a bold claim to make for a history of the role of military intelligence in some (but not all) of the conflicts fought between 1845 and 1864, especially given the omission of all of the wars fought after that date through until 1872. Simons himself makes some further claims for the work, suggesting that his own background as an officer in the New Zealand Army gives him special insights into the wars not available to other historians and writers from a non-military background.


[i] Launch speech for Soldiers, Scouts & Spies, by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Taylor, 15 October 2019,


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How to Cite
O'MALLEY, Vincent. Soldiers, Scouts and Spies: A Military History of the New Zealand Wars 1845–1864. The Journal of New Zealand Studies, [S.l.], n. NS29, dec. 2019. ISSN 2324-3740. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 may 2020. doi: