Parore Te Āwhā

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: 
45
Signed as: 
Parore
Probable name: 
Parore Te Āwhā
Iwi/Hapū: 
Ngāpuhi, Te Roroa, Te Kuihi, Ngāti Apa
1835 residence: 
Waipoua
Tohu (signature): 

Parore Te Āwhā was born at Mangakāhia, probably sometime in the 1790s. His father was Toretumua Te Āwhā and his mother was Pēhirangi. Throughout his life he was associated with Kaikohe, Whāngārei, Waipoua Valley, Kaipara and Mangawhare.

S. Percy Smith described Parore as 'a fine stalwart man, beautifully tattooed, whose mana over his people was very great.' [1] He embraced European religion and farming practices, building a chapel and planting a wheat field in one of his settlements. He also traded in flax and timber. One of his buyers, J. S. Polack, wrote that 'his stature was tall and commanding, and, although not outwardly distinguished from his companions by any peculiarities of dress, he had an air at once noble and dignified.' [2]

Parore signed He Whakaputanga on 25 June 1837, and probably sent his son, Te Ahu Parore, to sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840. He is thought to have prevented an attack on Auckland by Kawiti’s men during the 1845–46 Northern Wars.

Parore's mana as a leader was further recognised when he was sent copies of the Kohimarama Conference papers in 1860, and he led the welcome for Governor George Bowen to northern Wairoa in October 1869.

In 1882 Parore funded the unsuccessful mission of Ngāpuhi leaders to England, where they tried to present a petition to Queen Victoria but were refused an audience with the queen. It demanded a royal commission to investigate laws contravening the Treaty, and asked for authority to establish a Māori parliament.

Parore Te Āwhā died in 1887 and was honoured with a full band, flags and a salute of three volleys.

[1] S. Percy Smith, Māori Wars of the Nineteenth Century: The Struggle of the Northern Against the Southern Māori Tribes Prior to the Colonisation of New Zealand in 1840, Whitcombe & Tombs, Christchurch, 1910, p.24.

[2] Joel S. Polack, New Zealand: Being a Narrative of Travels and Adventures During a Residence in That Country Between the Years 1831 and 1837, Richard Bentley, New Burlington, London, 1838, vol.1, p.77.

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