The Ngāti Toa chief's name is a taunt to an enemy Waikato chief who, when he was an infant, threatened to kill him and roast him with edible rauparaha leaves. Kāwhia-based Te Rauparaha (? -1849) led Ngāti Toa in a lengthy war with the Waikato tribes before defeat forced his tribe out of the area.
In the 1820s he led Ngāti Toa and its allies on a great migration to the southern North Island, using muskets to defeat traditionally armed local tribes. From his base on Kapiti Island, Te Rauparaha also controlled the northerners' invasion of the top of the South Island and launched devastating attacks against Ngāi Tahu as far south as Kaiapoi.
In 1839 he sold land in Nelson and Golden Bay to the New Zealand Company and in 1840 he signed the Treaty of Waitangi – twice on different copies – believing it would guarantee him ownership of the lands he had conquered.
He resisted later New Zealand Company attempts to survey and settle land he had not sold and, in the 1843 Wairau Incident, he and his supporters successfully repelled a settler party attempting to arrest them, killing 22, while several Māori also lost their lives. Wellington and Hutt Valley settlers feared a Ngāti Toa attack and in July 1846 Governor George Grey raided Te Rauparaha's pā at dawn and took him prisoner. He was held illegally without charge until January 1848 while Grey crushed his tribe.
Adapted from the DNZB biography by Steven Oliver
Ko te ingoa o Te Rauparaha (? – 1849) he whakamahara ki te taunu a tētahi rangatira o Waikato, i a ia e tamariki ana, i puta ana kupu whakahāwea ka patua e ia, otirā ka tukua ia ki te hāngī, ko ngā rau parahā hei rautao. Ko te kāinga taketake o Te Rauparaha, ko Kāwhia. Nā Te Rauparaha a Ngāti Toa i ārahi i tōna pakanga roa ki ngā iwi o Waikato. Nā ngā parekura o Ngāti Toa i aua pakanga, ka wehe atu ōna iwi i te takiwā o Waikato ki wāhi kē.
I ngā tau 1820, ka ārahina e ia a Ngāti Toa me ōna hoa i tō rātou heke nui ki Te Upoko o te Ika. Kua whiwhi pū a Ngāti Toa, nō reira ka raru i a rātou ngā iwi o ngā rohe o te tonga i ngā pakanga mō te whenua. Mai i Kāpiti Motu, ka whakahaeretia e Te Rauparaha te whakaekenga o ngā iwi o Te Tauihu o te Waka a Māui, ā, ka kōkiritia e ia ngā pā o Ngāi Tahu, tae rawa atu ki Kaiapoi.
I te tau 1839 ka hokona e Te Rauparaha he whenua i Whakatū me Te Tai Tapu ki te Kamupene o Niu Tīreni, ā, nō te tau 1840 ka hainatia e ia te Tiriti o Waitangi – e rua rawa ana hainatanga, ki ētahi kape e rua – i runga i te whakaaro mā reira pea e riro mai ai i a ia te tino mana o ngā whenua kua raupatutia e ia. I muri ka ātete tonu a Te Rauparaha ki ngā mahi a te Kamupene o Niu Tīreni ki te rūri i te whenua kīhai i hokona atu e ia. I te pakanga nui i te Wairau i te tau 1843, ka kauparea atu e rātou ko ana kaitautoko tētahi ope Pākehā kua tae mai ki te whakarau i a ia. E 22 ngā kaiwhakanoho Pākehā i mate, me ētahi o te taha Māori. I te wehi nui ngā kaiwhakanoho Pākehā i Pōneke me te Awakairangi kei tāorotia rātou e Ngāti Toa. I te marama o Hūrae i te tau 1846, ka kōkiritia te pā o Te Rauparaha e Kāwana Hori Kerei, ka mauheretia ia. I mauheretia ia, ahakoa kāore i tika i raro i te ture, taea noatia te marama o Hānuere 1848. Ko te mahi a Kerei i roto i aua marama, he tukituki i a Ngāti Toa.