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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
16 Sheet 1 — The Waitangi Sheet Mene Mene Ngāpuhi Ngāti Rehia, Ngāi Tawake Waitangi, 6 February 1840

Mene, a rangatira (chief) from Kororāreka, was said to have signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840 at Waitangi on behalf of his father Tāreha. His brother Hākiro was said to have signed on behalf of Tītore, who had died in 1837.

However Ngāti Rēhia kaumātua Wiremu Heihei told the Waitangi Tribunal that it was unlikely Mene would have signed for his father:

He aha ma te tama, ma Mēne hei haina i te Tiriti, i reira ia kihai i korero, otiia ko te matua a Tāreha i reira, kihai i haina heoi, korero marietia e ia te take ōna i kore rawa nei e whakaae? He aha ra tenei tuwhai āhua whakatamariki i te rangatira nui o Ngapuhi ….

How is anyone expected to believe that Mene signed when he did not speak at the venue and when his father Tāreha was there and gave clear reasons why he would never ever agree to sign Te Tiriti. What nonsense this is which serves to denigrate the prestige of a great chief of Ngapuhi …. [1]

In 1841 Mene was baptised as Willoughby Shortland (Wirepo Hōterene) Mene, after the colonial secretary. In the same year Mene, Tāreha and other Ngāpuhi chiefs wrote to the governor, William Hobson, to distance themselves from the actions of Wiremu Kīngi Maketū, who had killed five people, most of them Pākehā settlers, in the Bay of Islands.

[1] Quoted in Waitangi Tribunal, He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti – the declaration and the treaty: the report on stage 1 of the Te Paparahi o Te Raki Inquiry, Wellington, 2014,

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