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: 
Signed as: 
Kiwi Kiwi
Probable name: 
Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Manu
1835 residence: 
Tohu (signature): 

Associated with Kawakawa (where he had a settlement near the Kawakawa River), Kiwikiwi was a key member of Ngāpuhi’s southern alliance, alongside his cousin Pōmare II and other kin. He was the son of Te Ārahi and Pātaea (also known as Tūroro or Te Ruru), and the nephew of Te Koriwhai; his grandparents were Rite and Taranui, and Te Huru (of Ngāti Hine) and Huatai, a chieftainess of Ngāti Manu. He was the younger brother of the influential Te Whareumu, also known as ‘King George’, and older brother of Te Auraki.

In 1828 the artist Augustus Earle lived for a time with Ngāti Manu and left a vivid description of Kiwikiwi: 'Mr Kiney Kiney [Kiwikiwi] (as he was sometimes called) was splendidly apparelled on this occasion; he had, by some means or other, become possessed of a light infantry sabre, with all of its belts and buckles, this was girdled round his naked body, which gave him a very gallant air.' [1]

That same year Kiwikiwi and Te Whareumu led a taua to Waimā, Hokianga, in response to the death of Ariki, the son of Pōmare I. Te Whareumu was killed, and it was decided that Kiwikiwi would succeed him. Although he was a leading rangatira, it is said Kiwikiwi did not have the same maturity and experience as Te Whareumu, and his influence was eventually overshadowed by Pōmare II.

Kiwikiwi was a participant in the ‘Girls’ War’ of 1830, which involved both his wife Te Urumihia and his daughter. Accounts differ on the cause, but the matter quickly escalated and on 6 March 1830 a taua led by Ururoa and his northern-alliance allies engaged in a two-hour battle with Kiwikiwi and others of Ngāti Manu on the beach at Kororāreka, now Russell. To avoid full-scale war within Ngāpuhi, Kiwikiwi surrendered the lands of Kororāreka as atonement for the incident. Kororāreka was a centre of European settlement in the Bay of Islands, and a major source of income for the hapū that controlled it. He and his people withdrew, first to Paihia and then to Ōtūihu, where Pōmare II was developing a strong pā for both defence and trade with Europeans.

On 20 March 1834 Kiwikiwi was present at the selection of Te Kara, the United Tribes’ flag. An observer from the HMS Alligator, the Austrian Baron Karl von Huegel, noted that rangatira such as Kiwikiwi questioned the logic of the event: 'Most of them regarded the proposal as indicating anything but friendship.' After the hui Kiwikiwi is said to have remarked:

How have we come into this situation of having to hoist a flag on our boats to ensure their safety?... it is through our own fault that we have to do it. If we had been more united among ourselves, if we had had no enmity of one horde against another, we would have been able to oppose their landing. [2]

Kiwikiwi held mana whenua around parts of the Kawakawa River, and in 1836 declared a rāhui (restriction) to prevent access to resources by a rival hapū. While local Māori complied, Pākehā refused, leading Kiwikiwi to fire on their boats as they passed. At a hui soon after it was decided that Europeans were permitted to ignore the rāhui. European breaches of tapu, deliberate or accidental, led to some of the significant violent events in the pre-colonial period and were one of the main cultural differences that Māori and Europeans had to resolve.

Kiwikiwi signed He Whakaputanga on 13 January 1836, a week after a skirmish at Waitangi between Waikato and another Ngāti Manu figure, Noa. His tohu is fifth on the codicil.

[1] Augustus Earle, A Narrative of Nine Months’ Residence in New Zealand, in 1827: Together With a Journal of a Residence in Tristan d’Acunha, an Island Situated Between South America and the Cape of Good Hope, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman, London, 1832, p.179.

[2] ‘Report on Stage 1 of the Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry’, Waitangi Tribunal, Wellington, 2014, p.131, Waitangi Tribunal.

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Jared Davidson

Posted: 20 Mar 2019

Tēnā kōrua. Thank you for your comments - we do want to make sure any information we've put online is correct.

The sources we've used for Kiwikiwi, including work by Angela Ballara, D. Simmons, Jeffery Sissons, Pat Hohepa and Wiremu Wi Hongi, note that Kiwikiwi was the brother of Te Whareumu of Ngāti Manu, rather than Te Whareumu of Ngāti Kahungunu. In her biography of Pōmare II, Ballara notes that “although Kiwikiwi, the brother of Te Whareumu, was recognised as Te Whareumu's heir, his influence was never very great; the emergence of the younger Pomare as a principal chief began at this time.” Simmons notes that Kiwikiwi and his brother were of Ngāti Manu, and whakapapa in ‘Nga Puriri o Taiamai’ for both Te Whareumu of Ngāti Manu and Te Wera Hauraki of Te Uri Taniwha and Ngāti Hineira shows similar relationships.

Ballara’s biography of Te Wera notes the relationship between him and Te Whareumu of Nukutaurua: This, and the timeline of events and locations of the two Te Whareumu, would suggest that Kiwikiwi was the brother and successor of Te Whareumu of Ngāti Manu, rather than the successor of Te Whareumu from Māhia. However if this source information is incorrect we’d love to hear more information and note it in the biography.

Thanks again for your comments.

Te Kowhiu Hau Kiwikiwi

Posted: 06 Mar 2019

I am (we are) direct descendant to Kiwikiwi through whakapapa..I am very concerned of your information regarding Te Whareumu.You are writing about entirely different rangatira with the same name. Whareumu was my tupuna's half brother who was eventually returned to Ngati Kahununu by our Rangatira Te Wera Hauraki.Please make sure before posting any korero regarding Kiwikiwi my Tupuna that information you have is tika. Also if you care to read the book THE WOMENS WAR you find more knowledge regarding my Tupuna Whaea Te Urumiha.

Georgina Marchioni Job

Posted: 14 Nov 2018

Firstly ngamihi nui to the writers and researchers. Kiwikiwi was my matua tupuna (great great grandfather) his daughter Maereaina married my great grandfather Hopa Toamia Job. Hopa Toamia being of Ariki lineage with whakapapa back to Hauraki in Tainui. Mereaina was Hopa Toamias first wife. They had a number of children including my grandfather Richard Riki Job. Riki Job married Rahera Stanaway they had my father Robert Job who married my mother Margaret Makereti Hinewai Te Amohanga Hauparoa of Ngati Maniapoto. I trust that my information will be used to further the knowledge of my tupuna Kiwikiwi who through signing He Wakaputanga passed on to we his mokopuna a legacy of greatness and liberation. I am a strong advocate for He Wakaputanga and what it holds for Ngapuhi and the Maori Nation. I entrust my Information to the writers and historians under the protection of international law and the Constitution of He Wakaputanga 1835.