Let’s be honest- that one nuke drop on Sydney was such a profoundly shocking moment in the tournament, that we completely overlook how fast they were otherwise wiped out. Te Rauparaha showed pretty effectively how it’s better to burn out than fade away: better to go out with a bang, so to speak.
In any other region, the Maori may have been a superpower. But with Australia taking up most of their expansion room, and missed opportunities for a joint war with the Kimberley, there was nowhere for them to go. Nonetheless, they put on a glowing performance before they were extinguished.