Portrait of Hoani Wiremu Hīpango

Portrait of Hoani Wiremu Hīpango, 1855.

The Pūtiki chief Hoani Hīpango was a leader of Ngāti Tūmango, of Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi. His mana over Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi tribal lands extended some 100 kms up the Whanganui River. One of the first Whanganui Māori to convert to Christianity, Hīpango was described by the missionary Richard Taylor as the most influential Whanganui leader from the 1840s to the 1860s.

In 1846 Hīpango provided men to defend the township of Whanganui, which was under threat from hostile Taupō and upper Whanganui Māori, until government troops arrived. He helped apprehend those responsible for the Gilfillan killings in April 1847.

Hīpango was chosen by a meeting of Whanganui and Rangitīkei leaders to accompany Richard Taylor on a visit to England in 1855. They travelled via Sydney, where Hīpango visited the former home of Samuel Marsden at Parramatta. In London he had an audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, whom he presented with gifts from the Whanganui tribes.

Hīpango played a key role in the battle at Moutoa Island in May 1864 and in the ongoing campaign against Pai Mārire. He died in February 1865 after being wounded during an attack on Ōhoutahi, the main Hauhau pā below Pipiriki.

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