After the Battle of Ruapekapeka, nobody wanted the fighting to continue. After a lot of talking (and posturing on the part of Governor Grey), the Northern War was officially over. Grey and Despard were quick to claim a great victory, putting a very favourable spin on it as they wrote their official reports. For people actually living in Northland – Māori and pākehā alike – the reality was very different.

Recently, historians have re-interpreted the Northern War, bringing into question the British claim of victory. Based upon these new interpretations, Heke and Kawiti didn’t lose the Battle of Ruapekapkea and they may even have won the Northern War. However, in the longer term Ngāpuhi lost a very great deal. Ultimately, they were unable to retain their lands, their rights, and their chiefly authority in the face of British colonial policy.