This relationship to the church gave Hongi Hika access to more rifles because he vowed to become a defender of the church. However, he wasn’t simply given all the guns, instead trading for them. As for what the Europeans wanted in exchange for the guns, well… that was shrunken heads. In fact, as the trade became more common, slaves and prisoners of war were brought to the Europeans and they chose which heads they wanted. The Maori then tattooed the chosen victim, and decapitated them. The market got to be so flooded with Maori heads that they were being sold for as little as £2, which was about a week’s wage in England for a working man.
Nevertheless, Hongi Hika was able to amass over 3,000 guns, and plenty of ammo and gunpowder in his 10-years as chief. Starting in 1818, his tribe slaughtered other tribes and took their women. Within a year, he had complete control over Northern New Zealand. However, other tribes soon followed in Hongi Hika’s footsteps and bought their own guns. Hongi Hika was killed when he took a bullet to the lung in 1828.