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Wiremu Hoete

Nga Tohu

In 1840 more than 500 chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. Ngā Tohu, when complete, will contain a biographical sketch of each signatory.


Signature Sheet Signed as Probable name Tribe Hapū Signing Occasion
151 Sheet 1 — The Waitangi Sheet Wiremu Hoete Wiremu Hoete Ngāti Pāoa Karaka Bay, 4 March 1840

Wiremu Hoete signed the Waitangi sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi on 4 March 1840 at Karaka Bay in Tāmaki (Auckland). He was said to have been one of the most notable Ngāti Pāoa rangatira (chiefs) who signed the Treaty.

He took the name Wiremu Hoete after William Jowett, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) secretary, when he was baptised. Hoete was the son of Te Hīnaki and father of Reverend Wiremu Hoete. His wife Hera was the daughter of Te Mātenga Hika of Ngāti Te Ata.

Held captive by Ngāpuhi in the Bay of Islands, he was released in 1834 and settled at Whakatīwai on the Firth of Thames. In 1837 he moved to Okoka Bay on Waiheke Island, building a settlement called Te Huruhi. By 1843 Hoete lived at Pūtiki Bay. He was known for his great hospitality to both Māori and Pākehā.

Hoete was also a scholar, and his account of mana (authority or status) and tapu (sacred or under religious restriction) was recorded in a manuscript.

In April 1841 Hoete was involved in the sale of 30,000 acres (12,141 ha) on the Mahurangi coast to missionary William Fairburn for £200 in cash and over £200 worth of goods and livestock. Hoete had worked to promote the CMS and protected Fairburn’s mission station at Maraetai.

In 1865, Hoete wrote to J.E. FitzGerald, a member of the House of Representatives known for his ’pro-Māori’ views, to complain that land had been confiscated both from Māori who fought against the government and those who had remained neutral.

A tangi or uhunga (funeral) was held in Taupō for both Hoete and Pātene Puhata in 1867. It was attended by more than 1000 people and around 3000 sharks were caught for the feast.

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