Patuone A Life
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Ngāti Hao and Ngāpuhi

Apart from the mention of Ngāti Hao in various census records of hapū members, there is little recorded in official histories. The history of Ngāti Hao therefore is therefore better known through the exploits of its much later rangatira. The links of Ngāti Hao are, however, closely interwined with Te Popoto.

The stronghold of Patuone's section of Ngāti Hao in Patuone's own time was the upper reaches of the Hokianga in the Waihou Valley at a place called Whakanekeneke together with lands, cultivations and and a kainga near Horeke, much closer to the harbour proper. There are accounts from Williams, Earle, Angus and others about visiting Patuone there as well as a watercolour depiction of Patuone's kainga by Augustus Earle, dating from 1827. Nene also had a pa at Lake Omapere1.

Ngāti Hao derives its name from an incident rather than an ancestor. This is in accordance with what is accepted as one account for the iwi name Ngāpuhi, that it relates to an event rather than attaching to a person and founding ancestor. Following a massacre at Te Totara, an island in the Waihou River, the 'Hao' of Ngāti Hao refers to the assigned role of gathering up the bones of the slain.

Ngāti Hao is also significant in that it was an influential hapū due to the great mana which attached to its key leaders over many generations right down to Patuone. Later references by pākehā suggested it was a powerful but declining force in the latter stages of the lives of Patuone and Nene. In pre-pākehā times, with various linkages, family oral history suggests that it numbered several hundred, making it a significant force within local politics and the gradual consolidation and expansion of Ngāpuhi. Further, following events at the Whangaroa following the muru on the Wesleyan mission there in 1827, it is significant that Ngāti Uru, fearing the wrath of Hongi, fled to the protection of Patuone, Nene and Ngāti Hao. Although Hongi and Patuone were close kin, friends and warriors together over many campaigns, there were also tensions between them, arising it is said particularly from the killing by Hongi of Te Tihi, a relative of Patuone. Ngāti Uru, in seeking the protection of Patuone, were not only doing so as kin to Patuone but also, were exploiting these known differences.

As indicated, Tapua, the father of Patuone and Nene traced descent direct from Uenuku, the first-born son of Rahiri and his first wife Ahuaiti. Apart from the Hokianga origins, suggested by Sonny Tau as Hutoia, Tapua had another base off the Kerikeri inlet where he had a pa at Ōkura, a tidal reach of the inlet which reached back towards Waitangi. Te Kawehau, mother of Patuone and Nene traced descent from Rahiri through Kaharau, his second son from the union with Whakaruru. The basic tātai is:


    Descent of Patuone

* Te Ngawa appears in some tātai as Te Ngaua. Spelling variations may occur with other names also, Maui and Mawi, for example.

The point has been made in many sources about the importance within Ngāpuhi of descent from Rahiri who lived within the period 1475-1525. The various family whakapapa cited here show how Patuone’s descent comes through multiple lines from both Uenuku and Kaharau, respectively first and second born sons. These multiple tātai also show clearly the close kinship of all the famous rangatira of Ngāpuhi.

The reason for Rahiri’s pre-eminence probably relates more to his linkage to preceding tūpuna rather that for any great military prowess. It was Kaharau in particular who founded the military might of Ngāpuhi and together with his older half-brother Uenuku, created a dynasty of famous chiefs and what was to become the largest iwi grouping in New Zealand.

Ngāpuhi kohao rau; kai tangata.
Ngāpuhi of a hundred holes; eaters of people.

Hokianga whakapau karakia.
Hokianga which exhausts incantations.

Both proverbs say something significant about Ngāpuhi and their base of origin, the Kaikohe and nearby Hokianga areas 2. The first implies that Ngāpuhi are made up of many and diverse groups and although not always united, were nonetheless a formidable foe when they came together for a common purpose or to fight a common enemy, devouring all before them. The second, while a specific reference to tūpuna Nukutawhiti and Ruanui and their famous battle of incantations as they tried to outdo each other, says something about the power of the Hokianga as a foothold of ancient Māori settlement; a place which is never a benign presence but also a place able to absorb and preserve all to which it is witness. Another famous saying is:

Ka mimiti te puna i Taumarere
Ka toto te puna i Hokianga
Ka toto te puna i Taumarere
Ka mimiti te puna i Hokianga

When the spring at Taumarere ebbs
The spring at Hokianga overflows
When the spring at Taumarere overflows
The spring at Hokianga ebbs.

This is a poetic and symbolic indication of the links between the taha tane (male) side of Ngāpuhi, the west coast; and the taha wahine (female) side, the east coast 3. It is interesting to note also that Nene regarded Ngāpuhi as being specifically the Pēwhairangi peoples, providing yet more intrigue to the name. However, as Ngāpuhi hegemony expanded, it came to be used increasingly in a collective sense, gathering in all linked by deescent from Rahiri. This is additional to the differing beliefs about the origin of the name. Going back to ancient times in Hawaiki, well before the first voyages of tūpuna to the shores of Aotearoa, there was a high-born woman called Kareroariki who had a desire to eat a human heart. This act gave rise to the names, Puhi-kai-ariki, Puhi-moana-ariki and Puhi-taniwha-rau, or, the three ‘puhi’ collectively referred to as ‘ngā puhi’. Another version suggests the name came from the captain of the Mātātua canoe and another that it is either a reference to the two sacred puhi (high-born women set aside) who were Hineiteaparangi and Kuramarotini, the two wives of Kupe, or even to the puhi (feather streamers) attached to the double prows of the ancestral Matawhaorua canoe. In a collective sense, it could also be seen as applying to all these different 'puhi' in the same manner as Tokerau and kohao have levels of meaning 4.

Ngāpuhi are part of the Tai Tokerau 5 and Tāmaki-makau-rau iwi, connected by kinship. Thus, Te Rarawa (the west), Te Aupouri (the north), Ngāti Kahu (the east) and Ngāti Whātua (the south) and their various hapū groupings, stand as part of a larger, five-poled house together with Ngāpuhi (the centre). Each of the groupings constitute the five supporting poupou (pillars) which together with the significant maunga (mountains) of Ngāpuhi as poutokomanawa (central supporting pillars), hold up the tāhuhu (ridgepole and symbolic backbone), all being located within the embrace of Papatuanuku (the earth mother) and Ranginui (the sky father). The significant, all-embracing and encircling maunga of Ngāpuhi are Puhangatohora, Te Ramaroa, Whiria, Panguru, Papata, Maungataniwha, Tokerau, Rakaumangamanga, Manaia, Tutamoe and Manganui. In Ngāpuhi terms, these are what are called:

He maunga tu tonu; tu te Ao tu te Po!
Mountains which stand firm in light and darkness!

What is termed Te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi (The Sacred House of Ngāpuhi) is expressed:

He mea hanga:
Ko Papatuanuku te paparahi
Ko nga maunga nga poupou
Ko te rangi e titiro ihi nei te tuanui;
Puhangatohora titiro ki Te Ramaroa
Te Ramaroa titiro ki Whiria
Ko te paiaka o te riri, ki te kawa o Rahiri;
Whiria titiro ki Panguru ki Papata
Ki te rakau tu papata i tu ki te Tai Hauauru;
Panguru, Papata titiro ki Maungataniwha
Maungataniwha titiro ki Tokerau
Tokerau titiro ki Rakaumangamanga
Rakaumangmanga titiro ki Manaia
Manaia titiro ki Tutamoe
Tutamoe titiro ki Manganui
Manganui titiro ki Puhangatohora;
Ko tenei te whare tapu o Ngāpuhi!

This is how is it made
The earth is the floor
The mountains are the supports
The sky we see above is the roof
From Puhangatohora look towards Te Ramaroa
From Te Ramaroa look towards Whiria
The seat of our military prowess, the ancestral line of Rahiri
From Whiria look towards Panguru and to Papata
To the thickly growing trees which extend to the western sea
From Panguru and Papata look towards Maungataniwha
From Maungataniwha look towards Tokerau
From Tokerau look towards Rakaumangamanga
From Rakaumangmanga look towards Manaia
From Manaia look towards Tutamoe
From Tutamoe look towards Manganui
From Manganui look to Puhangatohora
This is the sacred house of Ngāpuhi! 6

An older version of this summary of maunga is also very significant as it names other mountains which are significant and which do not appear in the later version just cited:

Titiro e Whiria ki Panguru
Maungakenana, ki Maungataniwha
Ki Whakarongorua, ki Ngaiatonga
Ki Te Ranga, ki Paremata, kapo ai
Titiro Hikurangi, ki Tutamoe
Whakatere, Pukehuia, Ramaroa
Ko nga maunga enei o Nga-Puhi, e
E nga kawe korero, a nga tūpuna, e
Ka tau ratou o haki [e te] iwi
Whakapono, tumanako, aroha

Look from Whiria to Panguru
Maungakenana to Maungataniwha
To Whakarongorua, to Ngaiatonga
To Te Ranga, to Pare-mata, reach out
Look to Hikurangi, to Tutamoe, Whakatere, Pukehuia, Ramaroa
These are the Mountains of Ngāpuhi
The story brought to us by our ancestors
Our challenge of the pride of our people
Truth, longing, love

Both show the poetic richness of the language and its capacity to illustrate highly 'visual' imagery, this being a particular feature of Māori and other Polynesian languages where even the components of larger words have meanings and significance in their own right.

The complexities of the inter-relationships between the various groupings which were to become the ‘confederation’ of Ngāpuhi are discussed elsewhere in greater detail, however, from the very beginning, Ngāpuhi represents a major contradiction—it is both all that binds together and all that separates. This is the very essence of its power. The vast complexities of these inter-relationships within Ngāpuhi specifically and Tai Tokerau generally, in a sense reflect their similarly complex historical origins and the involvement of many waka tūpuna in their ancestry. The historical accounts variously mention, for example, Matawhaorua, Ngatokimatawhaorua, Mahuhu, Mamari, Kurahaupo, Te Arawa, Tainui, Mataatua, Riukakara, Ruakaramea, Waipapa, Te Mamaru, Moekarara and Te-waka-tuwhenua. All of these further provide details of ancestral connections, settlements and movement and therefore intersect with many iwi and hapū, giving rise to multiple versions and explanations.

Ngāpuhi are part of the Tai Tokerau 7 and Tamaki-makau-rau iwi, connected by kinship. Thus, Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Whātua and their various hapū sub-groupings stand as part of a larger, five-poled house together with Ngāpuhi.

It is clear that the hapū was the principle unit of power for Māori in an everyday sense and this is particularly so in Tai Tokerau. However, as much as kinship links were important to all, events were to occur frequently where rivalries and differences led to war between different groupings, their genealogical and family connections notwithstanding. Thus, as well as war between various groupings within Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whātua, Te Roroa and those which came to constitute Ngāpuhi, within ‘Ngāpuhi’ itself, there were also many battles which could be referred to as ‘familial’ or occurring between different hapū. While all of this was probably due to the establishment of a hierarchy of control where various groupings struggled for supremacy and autonomy within a defined territorial area, it also indicates the extreme dynamism of Māori politics in the north. These dynamics would continue well into the late 1880s when controls were essentially and finally pākehā in totality. The aftermath of such wars, aside from the assumption of territories through raupatu, would also lead to a re-kindling of old alliances and the establishment of new ones. A good example relating to Patuone and Nene’s hapū Ngāti Hao and cited above, occurred in the Whangaroa area in 1827 when, following Hongi’s efforts to push Ngāti Pou and their kin, Ngāti Uru, out of the area, the remnants of Ngāti Uru fled once more to the protection of Patuone and Nene at their respective bases in Waihou and Ohaeawai/Okaihau. Ngāti Hao were an influential group and through Patuone and Nene’s leadership after their father Tapua’s death, an important part of the Ngāpuhi military alliance as well as being a force in their own right. In seeking protection with Patuone and Nene, Ngāti Uru were invoking whakapapa connections as well as realising that Hongi would not risk offending Ngāti Hao and specifically Patuone and Nene by attacking Ngāti Uru in their midst.

Apart from the kinship linkages between the northern and southern Hokianga, Taiamai, Whangaroa and Pēwhairangi areas, Hongi here provides a good example of how particular groups would relocate and force others out through greater military capacity. In this case, aside from the long animosity between him and Ngāti Pou and his resentment of Ngāti Uru, whom he held responsible for various acts of plunder against pākehā, Hongi’s mother came from the Kaeo area. Thus, as well as wanting to consolidate further a valuable trading precinct with pākehā, Hongi was also seeking utu for past wrongs and to re-occupy what he saw as his rightful territories anyway. Ironically, it was during this campaign against the Whangaroa people that Hongi received the shoulder wound which would eventually kill him.

 All Ngāpuhi of significance trace descent from Rahiri 8 and his first-born son Uenuku (Uenukukuare 9), whose mother was Ahuaiti from Ngāi Tāhuhu and Ngāti Kahu, and from his second-born son Kaharau, whose mother was Whakaruru from displaced Ngāti Awa. Tapua the father of Patuone descends from Uenuku and Te Kawehau, mother of Patuone, from Kaharau. The key whakapapa showing the basic linkage between these Ngāpuhi lines is:



The lines of other key rangatira can be expanded and extrapolated from these, given the close connections. For example, Hongi descends from Rahiri and Kaharau on his father’s side and Ngāti Awa on his mother’s.

Another important linkage between Ngāpuhi and Tainui can be seen in this simplified whakapapa which shows in particular the link by descent to Te Haupa (Ngāti Paoa) and the Kahui Ariki of Waikato. There is a further connection through Reitu and Reipae 10:


Ngapuhi Tainui Connections

While the base of Ngāpuhi was the Kaikohe and Hokianga areas, from the very beginning, as the whakatauki (sayings) suggest it was more a confederation based upon individual mana (personal standing). Thus, historians and others who speak in terms of hierarchies of paramount chiefs, subordinate chiefs, military leaders, generals and lieutenants effectively misinterpret reality: Ngāpuhi was always a coalition of equals who as determined by situation, context, need and motivation, worked together co-operatively to achieve either a common aim or a broad collection of aims which encompassed the aspirations of many. In war situations, the advantages of taua (war parties) 11 made up of hapū (sub-tribe nation) groupings provided maximum potential for flexibility in the deployment of forces in strategic and intelligent ways. A battle might be preceded by extensive strategic planning and consultation, often well in advance of the event and with battle plans drawn out in soil or sand until there was clear agreement on precise strategies. Specific roles might be assigned to various hapū: making an initial frontal attack; drawing the enemy from their (fortified and highly-defensible settlement); making a feigned withdrawal; ambuscades. Alternatively, battle could be engaged on the basis of relatively loose agreements, responsive to situation and context as they developed or became clear on the day. Such an approach also allowed elegant solutions to what could be very complex take (reasons), so that a hapū grouping within specific taua could be assigned roles equivalent to their individual need for utu (retribution). Further, with utu satisfied or in the event of defeat, each hapū was then free to seek peace, relative to its involvement. Warfare in Māori terms therefore was considerably more dynamic and complex than many writers have suggested 12.

Another important issue related to fights being averted, even when full plans had been made. Given the complex interrelationships and kinship ties even between different iwi (tribal nations) and hapū groupings, the likely presence of whanaunga (related people)on both sides of a potential conflict could be used strategically to advantage one group or the other, or through a process of discussion, negotiation and agreement, to avert the intended fight. However, reflecting the importance of situation and context, even with the best intentions, events could still take unexpected turns, creating a hierarchy of offences involving utu and what were deemed appropriate retributions. A good illustration is provided in a letter by Yates and Hobbs dated 22 March 1828 on the deaths of the Waima chief Muriwai and the Bay of Islands chief Whareumu of Ngāti Manu:

On the same day that Hongi died at Whangaroa a son of the late Pomare's, named Tiki, was killed at Waima by a chief of the tribe called Mahurihuri (Mahurehure). Waima is in Hokianga, and only a few miles distance from us. The cause of the quarrel was this: Tiki had had some of his pigs stolen by the natives of Waima, and he was seeking utu by robbing their sweet potato plantations, for which he was shot.

As soon as the report of the young man's death reached the Bay of Islands, 400 natives collected together, forming two divisions, under two separate chiefs, Whareumu, or, as he is called by the Europeans, King George, and Toi, and came to Hokianga. Toi and his party arrived first at Waima, where he found Patuone and all the natives and other chiefs of our district. After robbing the natives of Waima of their potatos, etc., peace was made, and no further evil consequences seemed likely to arise. The next day, the 14th, Whareumu and his party arrived. He was highly displeased with Toi for having made peace on such easy terms. He prevailed upon him, therefore, to break his league. Whareumu was also very insolent to Muriwai, intimated that he was a coward, and poured contempt upon the idea of the Hokianga natives standing in their own defence. On the morning of the 15th a quarrel ensued between the 400 Bay of Islanders and the natives of Waima, our natives also having now become their allies. This fray did not at the outset seem likely to be attended with fatal results, but, as Solomon justly observes, the beginning of strife is like the letting out of water; so it was in this instance. Shots were fired on both sides till several were killed and wounded. At length Muriwai, who was a pacificator, was wounded and fell. Supposing he was killed, our natives (for the natives of Waima fled as soon as matters assumed a serious aspect) no longer regarded matters lightly, but turned round in great rage, for they also were in the act of retreating, and singled out Whareumu as a satisfaction for Muriwai. Whareumu received two balls before he was killed. The one which killed him went through his throat. As soon as he fell all his followers fled, leaving about nine of their companions dead on the field, amongst whom was Oro, the chief who commenced our Whangaroa robbing. This ended the contest. Patuone and Nene immediately took up the body of the fallen chief and made great lamentation over him, and have since placed his body between the bodies of their own relations as a mark of respect.

There are other accounts of this matter in the journals of Henry Williams and extracts are also printed in the ‘Missionary Register 13. The Williams account covers the period March 15-24 and indicates the roles of key people in sorting out the complex matter, including Patuone and Rewa 14.

The actual death of Tiki had occurred on or about the same day that Patuone was leading the mourning ceremonies for Hongi in the Whangaroa, creating a potential flash point for yet more trouble between the inter-related Hokianga and the Bay of Islands groups. None was more aware of the potential consequences than Patuone. It is not known precisely where Nene was at this point but although no mention is made of him being in Patuone’s mourning party, given his close association with Hongi as well, it seems inconceivable that Nene was not there in support of his tuakana Patuone. Certainly, immediately after the completion of ceremonies over Hongi, Patuone left for Waima to deal in haste with the consequences of the death of Tiki which were to prove very challenging.

One of the interesting aspects of this letter, apart from the mention of Patuone and Nene who played no major role as perpetrators of aggressive actions, is the accusation of cowardice directed at Muriwai, another renowned chief of the Hokianga, and the insinuation by Whareumu that the Hokianga people were weak. Accepting the related events as factual reportage, as well as providing evidence of the complicated, circumstantial and ritualistic aspects of utu, the letter provides more evidence of the volatile nature of the relationship between the closely-related Hokianga and Bay of Islands peoples. It also illustrates the complexities of tikanga (traditional customs) related to take (reasons) and utu (retribution) which were often so bewildering to outsiders; as examples, the fact that although deaths of major chiefs ensued, it was in accordance with a deemed ‘balance’ and was a semi-ritualised process. Further, the fact that Whareumu’s body was taken up by Patuone and Nene and laid amongst their own dead as a mark of high respect indicates the chivalry involved 15 as well as the need to assert, after a tragic series events, the powerful ties of kinship as part of a healing process related to utu 16. Another matter of great interest is that Patuone, Nene and others stood in the line of fire as bullets flew and others on both sides fell about them, thus indicating that they were not themselves specific targets as part of the process of utu but mana rangatira in attendance to finalise things, once adequate ‘satisfaction’ had been obtained under the rules of utu. Of themselves, these circumstances are extraordinary: a stray or even a willfully intentional bullet killing another major Hokianga chief, would have been disastrous and resulted in a much exacerbated situation.

As alluded to earlier, yet another illustration of the complex interplay of descent, kinship and utu involves Patuone and Hongi. For all their closeness, both in terms of kinship and as warriors who undertook many campaigns together, events were still capable of creating severe strains and division between them. One major cause of difference was a complex chain of events related to fights with the Ngāpuhi factions Ngāti Korokoro and Mahurehure but also involving some Ngāti Pou and Ngāti Manu against Te Roroa. The memories of the major defeat of Ngāpuhi at Te Moremonui were still strong, overall sensitivities were acute, take extensive and the desire for utu present on multiple levels. In the course of an attack on a Ngāti Korokoro pā, Kautauarua, a high-born Ngāti Manu woman, was killed by Te Roroa, thus adding yet another dimension to an already complicated mix of take (issues), alliances and loyalties. In the meantime, Tuoho of Ngāti Pou attacked Hongi’s own , at that time at Pakinga near Kaikohe which was largely undefended owing to his absence in another campaign against Te Roroa who were at that point occupying Rahiri’s signature at Whiria 17. Failing to obtain satisfaction there since Whiria was a highly defensive , Hongi then attacked the of Te Tihi at Mataraua and then that of Tuoho as part of utu by association and as a taua muru. However, not only was Te Tihi closely related to Ngāti Pou and Ngāti Manu, he was also connected to Patuone. The fact that Hongi killed Te Tihi and allegedly plucked out his eyes and swallowed them was seen as a highly provocative act. It is not recorded that Patuone sought any public utu but given the relationship with Hongi and their deep respect for tikanga, there is no doubt that the seriousness of the matter would have been raised between them. It was certainly the view of Heke years later that Patuone refused to support his campaign against the Crown on the basis of this event: Heke and Hongi being even more closely related by descent and generation, it was Heke’s view that Patuone had finally extracted utu for the death of Te Tihi through his refusal of support 18.

Patuone himself left no comment about this issue but Heke’s assertions are unlikely to be true. The circumstances and fact of the support of Patuone and Nene of the British against Kawiti and Heke had more to do with their perceptions at the time of what was best for their people, given that the British in all their forms and persons were there to stay. This support was clearly given and constant in spite of any concerns and misgivings. In a military sense, Nene in particular also voiced his concerns about the capacities of certain British officers to lead and operate strategically and successfully, as well as expressing his views about the British being a ‘very lying people’ but for both Nene and Patuone, this was a matter of honour and what had been promised had to be seen through, no matter what.

Similarly, beyond the military dimensions, differences could also arise from inter-personal problems and commercial jealousies. In spite of their close kinship with Patuone, Hongi, Muriwai and Taonui experienced strains due to Patuone’s success with mission and commercial activities and his sponsorship and protection of those engaged in them. Part of Patuone’s success was probably due to his known and proven prowess as a great warrior, his noble descent through multiple lines from Rahiri, Uenuku and Kaharau, his status as tohunga and his immense personal mana. Also, while he had a reputation of not shying away from a fight if it was necessary, his manner, authority, personality, sense of honour and reputation as a peacemaker and mediator between parties and factions in dispute, had already attracted much favourable comment and praise from a range of missionaries and other non-Māori who had been in contact with him, Marsden included. This standing and regard amongst pākehā added to the great mana Patuone enjoyed amongst Māori throughout the land.

Between his military excursions, Hongi had ambitions to make Whangaroa a base for commercial activities to rival the Hokianga. Hongi had of course long provided protection to the CMS operations in the Bay of Islands with the mission and its missionaries enjoying considerable security by virtue of Hongi’s personal oversight and sponsorship. Whangaroa, however, regardless of Hongi’s power and intentions, was another matter. Since 1809, the Boyd massacre had long complicated perceptions about the desirability of Whangaroa as a base for any mission and commerce and thereafter, localised factional disputes, fights and manoeuverings created more uncertainty. The Wesleyan mission there operated ostensibly under the protection of Te Puhi and his relative Ngahuruhuru of Ngāti Uru, another local hapū. As part of his control plan for the Whangaroa, Hongi sought their assistance to drive off Ngāti Pou but took great offence at their refusal and instead, both threatened and moved to evict them as well. Fearing the full wrath of Hongi, Te Puhi fled to seek help from Patuone. In his absence, however, the Wesleyan mission was subjected to muru, creating another problem. Commercial, mission and military activities had all combined to set up ever more serious tensions and complications. The missionaries were in fact very fortunate not to have been killed during the process of the muru. Certainly, had this happened, Patuone and his ope (group) would have had a major crisis to manage. Amidst great personal danger and in the process of fleeing for their safety as the muru commenced, the missionaries met up with Patuone and a large party of his people, who were bringing Te Puhi back to Whangaroa to re-establish proper authority. There are several accounts in the literature relating how in the course of events, no sooner had the fleeing missionary party met up with Patuone and Te Puhi than Patuone and his senior people held their hands over the missionaries, whom they had asked to kneel, thus making clear to all in what was effectively a Hokianga taua that they were under his protection and that any violation would be a serious offence against him personally. There was probably considerable concern about the potential for members of a taua, as loosely as it might have been configured, following custom and killing the first person encountered in the course of the mission. Potential tensions were thus diffused. Pragmatically, however, given the various tensions abroad, Whangaroa was no longer a desirable or safe place for a mission and plans were made for it to be moved to the Hokianga where it was perceived it could operate under Patuone’s full and present mana.

There was also a clear suspicion current at the time that Te Puhi orchestrated the entire muru event and in seeking Patuone’s help, had deceived him over his true motives 19. George Clarke certainly recorded his thoughts in this regard, suggesting that Te Puhi, sensing the pending end to his associative advantages and the fact that commercial advantages such as those evident in Hokianga had not emanated from the Whangaroa mission, sought at least to gain some significant material advantage through muru and seizure of mission property 20. Te Puhi was probably also nervous about Hongi and his Whangaroa intentions, knowing that Hongi was not one to offend. He probably regarded deception of Patuone as his only option and hoped to appeal to Patuone’s mana and role as peacemaker.

Thus, Patuone’s clear authority and perceived ability to provide full protection persuaded the Wesleyan missionaries to move and re-establish the mission, this being undertaken from Sydney to where they had fled, in 1827. Acutely aware of the tensions abroad with Muriwai and Taonui however, Patuone proceeded sensitively and in a conciliatory attempt, made certain that the new mission was set up closer to Muriwai’s compound. Taonui, however, was still unhappy and proceeded to set fire to the timber stores of the Scottish carpenters who were already operating under Patuone’s patronage. Again, Patuone overlooked this provocative act and probably obtained utu in some other, more subtle and personal way, perhaps by recognising that neither Muriwai nor Taonui could match his ability to forge productive relationships with pākehā missioners and traders. As a tohunga of note, Patuone well understood the ways and motivations of his countrymen but equally the needs and motivations of pākehā


1. In oral history suggested to the administrator, there was never any detail provided about the origins of the name Hao other than the fact of his being the founding tūpuna, which clearly, cannot be substantiated. (back)

2. The term Ngāpuhi was not in great currency even at the time of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Indeed, on that occasion, both Nene and Tareha were alone in referring to Ngāpuhi. This suggests that in common with other confederations like Tainui and Te Arawa, such groupings were a latter-day response, probably for defensive reasons (coalitions being stronger) and also a considered response to colonization. (back)

3. Some kaumātua refer to te Tai Tama Wahine and te Tai Tama Tane for the east and west coasts respectively. (back)

4. The Matawhaorua returned to Rai’atea (Rangiatea) and was enlarged. It was then renamed Ngatokimatawhaorua (to acknowledge how it was re-adzed and enlarged) and became a significant waka for Ngāpuhi. (back)

5. Tai Tokerau is the name for the northern districts. Tai refers to the sea as distinct from land. Tokerau also means ‘north’ and broken down into meanings of the two component words, toke (worm) rau (a hundred), provides yet another sense of underpinning meaning overall and expressing the true richness, depth and timbre of Māori as a language, which paints highly visual imagery in the mind. (back)

6. There are some variations to this wording. This is the administrator’s preferred version, as handed down. (back)

7. Tai Tokerau is the name for the northern districts. Tai refers to the sea as distinct from land. Tokerau also means ‘north’ and broken down into meanings of the two component words, toke (worm) rau (a hundred), provides yet another sense of underpinning meaning overall and expressing the true richness, depth and timbre of Māori as a language, which paints highly visual imagery in the mind. (back)

8. Rahiri lived within the period 1475-1585 using generational calculations. Moetonga and Paru are two later wives of Rahiri, descendents of these wives respectively settling the west and east coasts and creating hapū in those places. No further details of these wives are in the administrator’s possession, however, they are clearly more significant for other hapū. (back)

9. In spite of his illustrious life, in his youth, Uenuku was named Uenukukuare (Uenuku the Ignorant) for his having been cast out by Rahiri while still quite young, together with his mother Ahuaiti. The story suggests that Ahuaiti gave her brothers the best fern root during a visit they were making, this being a contravention of Rahiri’s instruction that they were not to be given the best. For this reason, she and Uenuku were banished, reconciliation between Uenuku and Rahiri not taking place until he was a young man and there came a time when the territorial boundaries needed to be set for Uenuku and Kaharau, Rahiri’s second-born son from Whakaruru. The division of territories was accomplished through the flight of the kite Tuhoronuku, its landing place indicating the divide. (back)

10. The Reitu and Reipae connections are covered in the Additional Whakapapa section. (back)

11. There were many types of taua, dependent on particular take and circumstances: these are detailed in the glossary of terms. (back)

12. The best and most complete study of Māori warfare is that of Ballara (2003). (back)

13. Missionary Register, 1828, p.466 (back)

14. T he ‘title’ King George was applied to Whareumu who was confused by some writers with Te Wharerahi, Patuone’s brother-in-law. Thus, Te Wharerahi is also called King George by some. (back)

15. Māori chivalry during times of dispute and war has been reported elsewhere; incidents where battles were paused for various reasons and then resumed, and events such this. In this case, regardless of the issues involved, Te Whareumu, Pomare and the peoples of the Hokianga were closely related. (back)

16. Patuone and Nene were related to Whareumu and Pomare. (back)

17. The precise circumstances of the Te Roroa possession of Whiria are not known. Although Te Roroa had kinship connections to Ngāpuhi, their main allegiance was to Ngāti Whātua and as allies they had been involved in many significant fights with Ngāpuhi. That Te Roroa were in possession of Whiria either says something more of their military prowess or that for some reason, it had been abandoned by Ngāpuhi. (back)

18. Following the defeat of Heke and Kawiti after Ruapekapeka, it was the ministrations of Patuone with the Government which excused them from suffering major retribution. In a sense, utu had been satisfied and a long process completed. (back)

19. Muru was part of the Māori control and legal system which provided a system of compensation for wrongs committed. It allowed for the ritual plunder of property of an offending person or group rather than resorting to killing. (back)

20. George Clarke, letter to CMS, 6 March 1827, Doc. 18, MS 60, Hocken Library. (back)


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