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.


SignatureSheetSigned asProbable nameTribeHapūSigning Occasion
31Sheet 1 — The Waitangi SheetPapahiaPāpāhiaTe RarawaTe Horokuhare, Ngāti HauāBay of Islands probably Date unknown

Pāpāhia, also known as Te Tai or Te Ataoterangi, was a chief living at Ōrongotea, Hokianga. The son of Kahi, his elder brother was Te Huhu, his sister Ngā-kahu-whero and his younger brother Whakarongo-uru. His wife was Te Koiuru and their children were Wiremu Tana and Miriama. Pāpāhia was baptised as a Catholic by Bishop Pompallier in January 1838.

Pāpāhia was probably present at the selection of the United Tribes’ flag in 1834 at Waitangi.

Pāpāhia signed the Treaty of Waitangi, most likely in the Bay of Islands, some time in 1840. His son, Wiremu Tana, and his nephews, Ngāniho Te Tai and Te Hira, also signed, probably at the same time.

Pāpāhia opposed the treaty at first, exclaiming, ‘What is the Governor come for?’

He, indeed! He to be high, very high, like Maungataniwha [a high hill near Hokianga] and we low on the ground; nothing but little hills. No, no, no! Let us be equal; why should one hill be high and another low? This is bad. [1]

Pāpāhia composed a lament for his elder brother, Te Huhu, who had signed the 1835 Declaration of Independence.

[1] T. Lindsay Buick, The Treaty of Waitangi: or, how New Zealand became a British colony, Mackay, Wellington, 1914, p. 137

If you have more information about this treaty signatory please add a community contribution below or contact us at [email protected].

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Pāpāhia

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...