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Tokomaru, 9 June 1840

Missionary William Williams, the younger brother of Henry Williams, and the teenaged student of Māori George Clark Jnr travelled along the East Coast to collect signatures of rangatira (chiefs). On their way back to Tūranga (Gisborne) from Waiapu they passed through Tokomaru, where they collected four signatures on 9 June 1840. Tamaiwakanehu, Te Pōtae, Tāmitere and Te Mokopūōrongo were all of Ngāti Porou.

Williams was anxious to block land purchases and ‘would undoubtedly have stressed the treaty’s promise to protect Maori land. Since February he had been trying to impress upon East Coast Maori the seriousness of the land situation.’ Though he left no record of his discussions with rangatira, rumours that seven ‘shiploads of settlers were reputed to be arriving shortly from Cook Strait … added to Maori apprehensions. Their anxiety to protect their land rights was always acute; such circumstances would surely have predisposed them to accept the protective assurances built into the treaty.’ [1]

The total number of signatures collected on the East Coast was 41, well short of the expected 70–80. They did not include that of the paramount chief Te Kani a Takirau.

[1] Claudia Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, Allen & Unwin, Port Nicholson Press with assistance from the Historical Publications Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1987, pp. 71–2



Signature number Signed as Probable name Tribe Hapu
38 Tamaiwakanehu Tama-i-whakanehua-i-te-rangi Ngāti Porou Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare, Te Whānau-a-Te-Ao
39 Te Potae Enoka Te Pōtae-aute Ngāti Porou Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare, Te Whānau-a-Te-Poriro
40 Tamitere Tāmitere Tokomaru Ngāti Porou Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare
41 Te Mokopuorongo Paratene Te Mokopūōrongo Ngāti Porou Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare