Pōmare II, of Ngāpuhi, known as Whiria as a young man, was born in the latter part of the eighteenth century. He became a significant leader around the southern Bay of Islands in the 1830s.
He was heavily involved in trading with European shipping and became a major dealer in spirits and trader in pork, potatoes and timber. He also profited from prostitution of slave women and encouraged gambling.
A three-month war with Titore Tākiri in 1837 was inconclusive, with at times nearly 3000 warriors under arms. The war was witnessed by Captain William Hobson on HMS Rattlesnake, and his report, together with Busby's dispatches and a missionary-inspired petition, contributed to the eventual British intervention in New Zealand.
Pōmare signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 17 February 1840 and induced Te Tirarau and Te Ruki Kawiti to sign also in May. But aspects of British sovereignty offended him. The tolls he had levied for years on British shipping ended and he shared the concerns of other Māori leaders over the effects of British administration on their mana. Pōmare remained neutral when Hōne Heke and Kawiti challenged British sovereignty in 1844-46. Letters from Pōmare to Pōtatau Te Wherowhero were deemed treasonous, and he was arrested on 30 April 1845, his people scattered and his pā razed. Taken to Auckland, he was subsequently released on the intervention of Tāmati Wāka Nene and presented with a boat as some compensation for his treatment. Although he put together a war party to assist in the campaign against Heke, he withdrew before the battle of Ōhaeawai on 1 July 1845 but he played an important part in the peace negotiations.
Pomare spent his last few years in relative peace. He accepted the arbitration of the government in a dispute over land and in the last year of his life became a Christian. He died in July or August 1850.
Adapted from the DNZB biography by Angela Ballara
Nō Ngā Puhi a Pōmare II, ko tōna ingoa i tōna taitamarikitanga ko Whiria. I whānau mai ia i te wāhanga whakamutunga o te rau tau tekau mā waru. Ka tupu a Pōmare hei rangatira ingoa nui i Pēwhairangi ki te tonga i te tekau tau mai i 1830. He tangata mōhio ki te whakahaere hokohoko ki ngā kaipuke Pākehā, he kaihoko waipiro, mīti poaka, taewa, papa rākau hoki. Ko tētahi o ana umanga ko te tuku i ngā wāhine mōkai hei kairau, ā, i āwhinatia hoki e ia te mahi petipeti.
E 3000 ōna toa hāpai rākau i te pakanga ki a Tītore i te tau 1837, engari i muri i te toru marama kāore tētahi taha i toa ki runga ake i tētahi. I kitea taua pakanga e Te Hopihona i runga i te manuao, i te Rattlesnake. I haere tana pūrongo, ngā reta a Te Pūhipi me tētahi pitihana nā ngā mihingare ki ngā mana i Ingarangi, ā, ka noho ēnei hei take mō te taenga mai o te mana o Ingarangi ki Aotearoa ā tōna wā.
Ka hainatia e Pōmare te Tiriti o Waitangi i te 17 o Pēpuere 1840, ā, ka kawea e ia ngā whakaaro o Tirarau rāua ko Kawiti kia haina i te marama o Mei. Engari tērā anō ngā āhuatanga o te mana o Ingarangi kāore i pai ki a ia. I whakamutua ngā tāke i ngā kaipuke kua riro mai i a ia mō ētahi tau maha. Tuarua i rite anō ōna māharahara ki ētahi atu rangatira mō te pānga o te whakahaere o te Karauna ki tō rātou mana Māori motuhake. Ka noho taha kore a Pōmare i te werohanga a Hone Heke rāua ko Kawiti ki te mana o Ingarangi i ngā tau 1844-46. Ko ngā reta atu i Pōmare ki a Pōtatau Te Wherowhero i kīia he mahi taupoki i te mana o te Kuini, ā, ka mauheretia ia i te marama o Āperira 1845, ka whakamararatia tōna iwi, ka tahuna hoki tōna pā. Ka haria ia ki Tāmaki-makau-rau, ā, i runga i te kupu tautoko a Tāmati Waka Nene i a ia, ka whakawhiwhia ki tētahi poti hei kapiheihana mō te tūkinotanga i a ia. Ahakoa i whakaritea e ia tētahi ope hei āwhina i te pakanga ki a Heke, ka kōunu ia ki waho i mua atu i te pakanga ki Ōhaeawai i te 1 o Hūrae 1845. Engari he takawaenga whai mana ia i ngā kōrero mō te maunga-ā-rongo.
Ka noho a Pōmare i ōna tau whakamutunga i roto i te rangimārie. I whakaae ki te takawaengatanga o te Kāwanatanga i tētahi tautohe nui mō te whenua, ā, i ngā tau whakamutunga ōna ka huri hei Karaitiana. I mate ia i te marama o Hūrae, o Akuhata rānei i te tau 1850.