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: 
Probable name: 
Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Te Tahawai
1835 residence: 
Tohu (signature): 

Born around 1780 at Te Pupuke, Ururoa was a prominent rangatira of Whangaroa. A relation of Hongi Hika, and sometimes described as Hongi’s right-hand man, Ururoa took part in many major taua (war parties) during the 1820s and 1830s.

The son of Te Koki and Nehe, and brother of Te Hau, Ururoa is named in some writings as Rewharewha Te Koki, Rewharewha and Ururoa Te Koki. Ururoa was married to Patungahere, Miriama Ngākaikarere and Rangi Puhi. He was closely related to Hongi Hika through blood and marriage: Hongi was his first cousin and was married to two of Ururoa’s sisters, Turikatuku and Tangiwhare. Ururoa was also related to Ana Hamu, who was the widow of Te Koki and one of a number of women to sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Te Hau and Ururoa both lived at Matangirau and Wairaupō for a time when they were younger, moving inland when they were old enough to join fighting expeditions.

Ururoa led many of these alongside Hongi Hika during the 1820s, including the taua against Ngāti Pou at Taratara pā in Whangaroa. During the pursuit of Ngāti Pou, Te Hau was killed and Hongi received the musket wound that eventually led to his death a year later. After Ururoa carried the wounded Hongi back to Te Pupuke on a litter, Hongi asked him to attack the Whangaroa hapū, Kaitangata, for not supporting the fight with Ngāti Pou. Ururoa’s attack on Ōkahumoko pā is said to have been extremely brutal.

Around this time Ururoa – alongside Tāreha, Hāre Hongi Hika and Tupe – cemented his role as a leading rangatira of Whangaroa. His principal settlement was Huruata on the western inlet of the Whangaroa Harbour, and he had cultivations at Whakapipi and Pukekahikātoa.

Ururoa was a key player in the ‘Girls’ War’ of 1830. Accounts differ on the take (cause), but on 6 March 1830 Ururoa’s taua engaged in a two-hour battle with Kiwikiwi and others of Ngāti Manu. Kiwikiwi, Pōmare II and their people eventually abandoned Kororāreka, and on the suggestion of Kiwikiwi, this important trading town was gifted to Ururoa and Tītore (of Ngāti Rēhia). It was then occupied by Ngāti Rēhia, along with Rewa, Moka Te Kaingamatā and others of Ngāi Tawake.

Ururoa was present at a significant hui between Pākehā and Māori at Kerikeri on 15 November 1825, when missionaries tried to prevent a taua from taking place. According to his descendants, he was also a member of Te Whakaminenga, the high-level gatherings of hapū which were said to have met before 1835. His tohu (mark) is the second on He Whakaputanga, which he signed on 28 October 1835.

Like the other Whangaroa rangatira who signed He Whakaputanga, Ururoa did not sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi. One view is that as powerful figures in their own right, they had no need to sign.

His descendants note that while Ururoa tried to maintain peaceful relations with settlers and the Crown, he disagreed with many of their actions in regard to land purchasing. In 1843 he took part in inter-tribal fighting at Mangōnui, a conflict sparked by disputes with Nōpera Panakareao of Te Rarawa over customary rights and authority in the area that had flared as a result of land purchases. In 1845 he supported Hōne Heke Pōkai during fighting with Tāmati Wāka Nene – although he took a neutral position regarding the British.

Ururoa lived well into his eighties and died in 1861 at Te Pupuke.

Community contributions

7 comments have been posted about Ururoa

What do you know?

Can you tell us more about the information on this page? Perhaps you have a related experience you would like to share?

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments will be reviewed prior to posting. Not all comments posted. Tell me more...


Posted: 20 Oct 2020

Amazing information.

Reena Kainamu

Posted: 20 Dec 2019

Narratives of Ururoa are in this thesis by Munn, D. (1981). Ngāti Manu An Ethnohistorical Account. Unpublished Masters thesis. New Zealand: University of Auckland including the "Girls War", battles arising from political tensions across rohe (northern and other), local community/Te Ao Māori society.


Posted: 19 Dec 2019

What was the Marae, hapu that he was affiliated too please?

Rosemary Marsh

Posted: 20 Nov 2019

His grandson Pererika Heke son of Hone Heke Ururoa married Edith Harriet Wharepapa daughter of Chief Te Hautakiri Wharepapa of Ngatitoki tribe of Pakotai Mangakahia


Posted: 10 Aug 2019

Thank you awesome information have shared to whanau well done. Ururoa-Flavell descendant

Johny Snowden

Posted: 26 Feb 2018

Thank you, awesome information to add to our whakapapa

Papa Titore

Posted: 16 Oct 2017

Thankyou for this have shared it to our whanau site welldone. Papa Titore descendent