Te Awa

He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene

On 28 October 1835 at the Waitangi residence of James Busby, 34 chiefs signed He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene (known in English as the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand). By 1839, 18 more chiefs had signed He Whakaputanga, which was acknowledged by the British government. This biography of one of the signatories was originally written for the He Tohu exhibition.


Signing details

Signature number: 
13
Signed as: 
Awa
Probable name: 
Te Awa, Te Awa Kapo
Iwi/Hapū: 
Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaeke, Ngāti Pongia
1835 residence: 
Kaikohekohe
Tohu (signature): 

Te Awa, also known as Te Awa Kapo, was probably born in the 1770s. Based at Kaikohekohe inland of Pēwhairangi (Bay of Islands), Te Awa was closely connected to Te Rēweti Atuahaere of Ngāti Tautahi and was part of Ngāpuhi’s Northern Alliance. With Ketura, one of Te Awa’s three known wives, he had a number of children, including the mātāmua Te Hira Mura Te Awa, Hone Piro Te Awa, and others. Te Awa and his whānau were associated with land throughout the Kaikohekohe region: Matakohekohe near Tautoro, Rangihamama, Te Ngaohe, Kirioke, and the Taraire Block. His connections to other rangatira of his generation, such as Hongi Hika and Tāreha, meant Te Awa also had links to land in and around Whangaroa.

In the early 1800s, Te Awa took part in a tauā (war expedition) against Ngare Raumati, which was led by Hongi Hika’s father Te Hōtete. The cause of this tauā was the death of Te Auparo, the mother of Rewa, Moka, Te Wharerahi (who later took the hapū name Te Patukeha to remember her death). Te Awa was also present at the Battle of Te Tōtara Pā in 1821, when he and other future He Whakaputanga signatories attacked the stronghold of Ngāti Maru in Thames.

Te Awa was part of the move into Whangaroa by Hongi Hika, Ururoa and others in the late 1820s, as he and his sons are recorded on a number of Whangaroa land deeds. This includes the January 1836 sale of land at Te Kumi, Kaeo, to a Pākehā surveyor Thomas Florance. Te Awa signed the document with part of his moko (the original is held at Archives New Zealand).

Before Te Awa signed He Whakaputanga on 28 October 1835, missionaries had noted his leading role at Kaikohekohe. When a rangatira was accidently killed during the construction of a mill at Te Waimate, Te Awa was called upon to restore balance. As Richard Davis wrote in his journal, after Te Awa 'heard how the accident happened, he said, "Had I possessed my former feelings, the mill would ere this have been destroyed; but as the case now stands, I shall not take up the affair. My views of these matters are changed; and further, the man destroyed himself foolishly: he was not destroyed by the White People."'

Missionaries also described a dispute between Kaikohekohe and Waitangi hapū that broke out in late 1839. During a hui at Kaikohekohe, Te Awa addressed the visitors (which included Hōne Heke), acknowledged their visit, and offered to return to Waitangi to 'drink a little water from their river; to see the old people; to sleep with them one night or so; and from thence to send some of his children to see Tāreha and his son; that so, peace might be established.'

By the 1840s, many in Te Awa’s family had been baptised or had undergone European marriages, but it is not clear that he ever accepted Christianity.

It is likely that Te Awa was the ‘Te Awa’ who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi at Karaka Bay, Waitematā on 4 March 1840. Historian T. Lindsay Buick notes that ‘Te Awa’ was the father of Te Hira, and a number of other signatories that day were also from Te Tai Tokerau.

Te Awa was present at the famous 1843 hākari at Kerikeri . As one of the speakers, Te Awa argued to take up arms against the tribes at Ōruru, which subsequently occurred at Taipā.

Te Awa and/or his first born son to Ketura, Te Hira Te Awa, were allies of Hōne Heke Pōkai during the 1845–46 Northern Wars. Born around 1806, in 1862 Te Hira Te Awa also joined with Matiu Te Aranui of Ngāti Pongia in pā warfare against Te Tirarau at Waitomotomo. A government Register of Chiefs from 1866 notes the dispute and that Te Hira was 'son of the late chief Te Awa.' This suggests the senior Te Awa had died by this time.

Community contributions

16 comments have been posted about Te Awa

What do you know?

Can you tell us more about the information on this page? Perhaps you have a related experience you would like to share?

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments will be reviewed prior to posting. Not all comments posted. Tell me more...

Jared Davidson

Posted: 05 Dec 2018

Kia ora, we've now updated this biography with the help of a descendant. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed new information.

Jared Davidson
Te Rua Mahara Archives New Zealand

Anonymous

Posted: 27 Oct 2018

kia ora jared. could you update the official info for te awa please.

Jared Davidson

Posted: 11 May 2018

Kia ora. Thank you very much for these contributions, they clarify a lot of the questions we had when trying to identify this rangatira. We will amend the biography accordingly to reflect the information you've provided. Feel free to email me so that we can attribute your additions: research.archives@dia.govt.nz. Ngā mihi, Jared (Archives New Zealand)

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

1836 TE KUMI BLOCK, WHANGAROA, MANGONUI DISTRICT.
Na te awa of "Kaikohi"

1837 UPOKORAU AND WAIARI BLOCK, WHANGAROA, MANGONUI

HIRA MURA AWA. (Te Awa's son)
HONE TIMO.
Ko TORO tana tohu x.
PUEKA PITA.
Ko te kai titiro—
James Kemp.
John Edmonds.
Rawiri Taewanga.
Hone piro ( Te Awa's younger son)
Hone Heke.
Hemi Tohu.
Ko Hamuera Hoka tana tohu x.
Peru.
Ko Pakaewawe tana tohu x.
Ko Ponga tana tohu x.

1830 KAEO BLOCK, WHANGAROA, MANGONUI DISTRICT

Ko te tohu x o Titore.
Ko te tohu x o Taka.
Ko te tohu x o Mahu.
Ko te tohu x o Hopewai.
Pekau.
Henare Wahanga.
Wai-ipu.
Hira Awa. ( both Hira and Hone are son's of Te Awa)
Hone Awa.
Ko to tohu x o Ruatara.
Ko te tohu x o Ruatara.
Ko te tohu x o Tete.
Ko to tohu x o Te Rahiri.
Ko te tohu x o Puru.
Ko te tohu x o Hikiro.
Ko te tohu x o te Pakira.
Ko te tohu x o te Waraki.
Ko te tohu x o Tareha.
Ko te tohu x o Parangi.

1836 INUMIA BLOCK, WHANGAROA, MANGONUI DISTRICT

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

te awa was present at the famous 1843 hakari at kerikeri during which he was a speaker and argued to take up arms against the tribes at oruru which subsequently occured being led by heke against panakareao.

J cotton journal

http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=9306&l=mi

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

Te Hira Awa. Age 60. Kaikohe. “Not the best. Lately member of the Runanga - now an
Assessor - son of the late chief Te Awa, an influential man but not as active as he might
be[.] [E]ngaged against Tirarau in the land quarrel between that chief and Matiuu for
which he was at the time suspended”.

The 1866 list of Chiefs, with Comments as to Their Loyalty and
Disposition.

a 'te awa' signed at waitamata and based on buick's publication, it seems probable that this is te awa of ngati whakaeke kaikohe as he notes this te awa as being father of 'te hira' (the matamua, first born of te awa of ngati whakaeke). at the waitamata there were at least three other rangatira who signed from tai tokerau.

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

Chiefs of the Ngati Hine tribe also live on the Kawa kawa river-
Kawiti
Hara
Tahua (or King George)
Maru [Marupo?]
Chiefs of the Kapotai Tribe who live on the River Waikare-
Kapotai
Hingston [Hikitene]
Pokerehu
Ko-ko-uri
Haumere
Chiefs of Heke’s tribe-
Heke
Whey [Whe]
Hirapure [Te Hira Pure]
Awa
Haratua
Hautungia
Kueao [Kuao]

Grey to Lord Stanley, 8 December 1845, enclosure 1, G 30/ 8, p. 1292; also in CO 209/38, p.88

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

chiefs of the ngapuhi tribe acting under heke: whe, te haratua, hare te pure, hautungia, te awa, kuao, pene taui

New Zealand' First War Or the Rebellion of Hone Heke - Buick

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

Te Hotete returned to find his village
in ruins and the slain in heaps, and he at once announced his intention of attacking Ngare-raumati. The chiefs were
Moka, Houwawe, Pokaia, and Te Awa.

JPS Volume 47 1938 > Volume 47, No. 188 > Fragments of Ngapuhi history: The conquest of the Ngare-raumati, by
Leslie G. Kelly, p 163-172

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

the kaumatua and scholar patu hohepa states in his list of rangatira who signed te whakaputanga in his publication 'HOKIANGA From Te Korekore to 1840' as being 'ngati whakaeke'

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

The chiefs of Nga-Puhi, who were sent by Hongi-Hika to arrange this deceitful peace were: —Muriwai, Te Koki, Te Nganga, Te Toru, Whiwhia, Toretumua, Ururoa, Te Whare-rahi, Moka, Manu, Kahe, Whai, Kaiteke, Wharepoaka, Te Morenga, Nga-ure, Te Whare-umu, Kopeka, Kawiti, Mata-roria, Te Awa, Kahakaha,* Te Heke, Tareha, Te Hakiro, Kukupa, and Te Ihi,† which are all the names known.

Title: Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century

Author: S. Percy Smith

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

June 12 1848 - Yesterday we had a large Congregation in our old rush Chapel, to witness the baptism of one of Awa's--the Chief's--wives. She had been for a long period a regular attendant at all our Services, but it is only lately that her husband would give her up to baptism. She is the mother of a respectable family of children, who are all grown up, and all members of our Church, save the youngest. Although he partook of his father's spirit, and engaged in the late war, he is nevertheless a very quiet young man. I have no doubt of the sincerity of this woman: her perseverance to get instruction, and her many tears, together with her consistent life, appeared to point her out as a proper subject for the sacred ordinance.

1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.]

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

Peaceful Settlement of Differences between the Kaikohi and Waitangi Tribes.

Aug. 20, 1839--This morning I met the inquirers; but the arrival of the Kaikohi Tribe broke up our meeting. We met them just entering into the Settlement. They sat down; and after the first salutations were over, they made known their arrangements, which appeared to be judicious. The Chief said he had brought all the believing party with him, in order that no mischief might be done. A proposal was made that they should not go to Waitangi in a body, lest some of the wickedly-disposed should kill the pigs which might be in the village. At this proposal the Chief was very indignant. It was however proposed, that the Chiefs of Waitangi should be sent for, in order that they might consult together on the measures they should take. To this they agreed; and a messenger was despatched, to request their attendance. Orders were now given for a meal to be prepared; and the busy scene of cookery immediately commenced.

In a short time the Waitangi Chiefs arrived; and were immediately addressed by the Kaikohi Chief, Awa. He told them, that if they had not come, he should have returned without seeing them; but that now he was willing to proceed with his party to their place, to drink a little water from their river; to see the old people; to sleep with them one night or so; and from thence to send some of his children to see Tareha and his son; that so, peace might be established, and the country once again become quiet. William Hana followed. He gave them a hearty welcome; congratulated them on the blessings which they universally enjoyed under the influence of the Gospel; and compared the present with past proceedings, in a most pleasing manner. Atua Haere, the other principal Chief from Kaikohi, a Christian man, followed, and commenced his speech with these words: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us! He commented on the words in a Christian manner; and said, that it was to fulfil the injunction contained in this prayerful petition that they had come. A Waitangi Chief followed, giving an express invitation. John Heke, a Kaikohi Chief, then spoke; and requested that there should be no firing of guns, or play, when they met. To this they all agreed: and after they had eaten their food, we went to Waitangi together, taking with us a bag of flour and a little sugar, to help out our Waitangi friends in their provision for so large a party. In the evening we left them comfortable; and instead of the savage din of war, the voice of praise and prayer resounded through the valley. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.

1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.]

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

April 8, 1839 -I went to Kaikohi, and married two couples, both of the family of the Chief Awa. Great preparations had previously been made; and a very ample feast was set out, sufficient for the whole tribe, consisting of five cooked pigs, and about 400 meal-baskets of common and sweet, potatoes, and fruit. Everybody appeared to be not only well pleased, but highly delighted. The young people were neatly dressed in European style, and made a respectable appearance. How different from formerly! What a contrast to past proceedings! Here the blessings of the Gospel were too evident to pass unnoticed. In their native state, the woman was in many cases not consulted, and was generally dragged from her friends by force, and quarrels of a serious nature sometimes ensued: here all was peace and innocent festivity. Blessings do indeed abound where the Saviour is made known!

1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.]

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

Native Resentment subdued by Reason.

Jan. 28, 1835--This morning, the people who were working at the mill, having undermined the land which they were picking down to finish the dam with, it fell in, and two men were buried under it. To one of them, a Chief of some respectability, it proved fatal in about two hours: the other person will, I hope, do well. Every thing was done for the dear sufferers that could be done; but, alas! upon one of them, all was without effect. The poor fellow seemed sensible of his approaching death, as soon as he was extricated from the earth under which he had been buried. As soon as he saw me, which was in a few minutes after the accident, he took a very affectionate leave of me. I did what I could, in the midst of the confusion, to direct his mind to Christ. His behaviour toward us had always been quiet and respectful, so that we cannot but sincerely lament his loss. As soon as the accident occurred, I sent a messenger for the Rev. W. Williams; and another for Mr. Clarke, who, being poorly, had gone to Kerikeri, to spend a day or two for change of air. There is a considerable consternation among the Natives who are working at the mill, as to the manner in which some of the relatives of the deceased Chief may take up the cause. A few years ago, the occurrence would have proved serious; as the mill and works would no doubt have been destroyed, and slaves killed, &c.

[Image of page 340]

Feb. 3, 1835 --A second accident has this day occurred among the people working at the mill-dam. A woman took up a musket, not knowing that it was loaded, and fired it off. The ball passed through a woman's thigh, but without breaking the bone; and afterward through a company of people, without doing any further mischief. This is a mysterious providence; for had any person been killed, I know not what the result might have been. The person who was extricated from beneath the earth is likely to do well: as he is a Christian man, the melancholy accident has had a very pleasing effect on his mind.

Many reports are in circulation concerning the intentions of the Natives, as to what they shall do respecting the man who was killed: some are holding out threats, while others are endeavouring to pass over the matter in a quiet way. According to custom, it became the duty of AWA, one of the Kaikohi Chiefs, to take up the cause, as avenger of blood on the occasion. When this man heard how the accident happened, he said, "Had I possessed my former feelings, the mill would ere this have been destroyed; but as the case now stands, I shall not take up the affair. My views of these matters are changed; and further, the man destroyed himself foolishly: he was not destroyed by the White People."

Mr. Davis adds--

After having consulted together, we gave the brother of the man who was killed a blanket and an iron pot, with which he seemed very well pleased. Some of the fearful people tell us, that the mill is in danger of being burnt on account of the accident; but we have no such apprehensions ourselves: however, to make as sure as we can, we have commenced keeping a nightly guard in the house. A few years ago, it would have been the cause of much trouble and distress; but I trust those times are in a great measure gone by. How thankful we ought to be, that no accident of a serious nature has occurred until now, since the foundation of the Mission!

1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.]

Anonymous

Posted: 10 May 2018

this is te awa, based at kaikohe of ngati whakaeke, whanaunga of rewiti atuahaere, hence the fact he signed below him. he was the te awa who was allied to hone heke pokai and he did have links to kaeo following his contribution to hongi hika's conquest of the area. his son hira mura te awa was part of the district runanga supported by the government and was involved in the dispute against tirarau that led to brief pa warfare at waitomotomo, i am a descendant of this man. the aperahama te awa church in kaikohe is said to be named after te awa's grandson aperahama (pera).