Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke

This portrait taken by an unidentified photographer about 1880 may be of the Te Āti Awa leader Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke.

Kīngi had migrated south to the Kāpiti coast following the Waikato invasions of Taranaki in the early 1830s. When the New Zealand Company first claimed to have purchased his Taranaki lands, Te Rangitāke uttered the words that would be the motif of his later life: 'Waitara shall not be given up.' After later demands by Governor George Grey that they give up their ancestral lands, he and 600 other Te Āti Awa people moved back to Taranaki from Waikanae in 1848.

Tensions existed within Te Ati Āwa between those who were willing to sell and men like Kīngi. Matters came to a head when Te Teira Mānuka offered the government land near Waitara that Te Rangitāke was determined should not be sold. This dispute led to the outbreak of hostilities in March 1860.

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