"Te Rauparaha's notoriety was established even before the first British settlers arrived in New Zealand, and the myth of Te Rauparaha the murderous savage was one which few Europeans felt inclined to explode. It is only in recent years that official documents from the colonial period have become readily available ... and these throw a very different light on the events surrounding the colonisation of the Cook Strait area and the latter part of Te Rauparaha's life from much that had been accepted in the past. What they reveal is the astonishing gap between Maori and European views of colonisation - and of Te Rauparaha. [He] was a man of extraordinary ability ... there could be no denying his achievements as a physically unprepossessing warrior-chief who assumed leadership of a small tribe in a time of danger, led them on a long and hazardous journey to the Kapiti coast and from there conquered vast terrritories. His victories changed for ever life in the southern half of New Zealand ... He was, however, a man of many parts - a leader as skilled in the arts of peace as the arts of war"--Publisher's description.