Probably no more than 500 Maori were living in Canterbury when European settlement began in the 1840s. They were part of the Ngai Tahu tribe which occupied the South Island of New Zealand, remnants of a more numerous population which may have numbered between 3000 and 4000 people at the beginning of the 19th century. Decimated by civil wars from 1810 to 1815, they were almost exterminated between 1830 and 1832 in attacks by the northern Ngati Toa, led by Te Rauparaha. Ngāi Tahu and earlier tribes lived mainly where there was food – by the sea and at Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere), which had lots of eels. The government bought much of their territory in 1848, but broke its promise to keep enough land for them. The tribe was finally compensated in 1997. The London-based Canterbury Association aimed to recreate English rural society in Canterbury. From 1850, they sent out different classes of people – from rich landowners, to farmers, to shepherds and servants. The settlers had set up large sheep farms on the plains and in the hill country. Some farmers became rich exporting wool and meat (known as ‘Canterbury lamb’). Near the end of the 19th century these runs were divided into smaller farms.