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
6Sheet 1 — The Waitangi SheetTamati PukututuTāmati PukututuNgāpuhiTe Uri-o-te-Hawato, Te Uri-o-NgongoWaitangi 6 February 1840

Tāmati Pukututu, a rangatira (chief) of Te Uri-o-te-Hawato at Kawakawa, supported the missionaries and was baptised in the early 1830s. He signed the Declaration of Independence in 1835 and the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840, at Waitangi.

On 5 February he was the first to speak in support of Governor William Hobson:

This is mine to thee, O Governor! Sit, Governor, sit, a Governor for us – for me, for all, that our lands may remain with us – that those fellows and creatures who sneak about, sticking to rocks and to the sides of brooks and gullies, may not have it all. Sit, Governor, sit, for me, for us. Remain here, a father for us, &c. These chiefs say, ‘Don’t sit,’ because they have sold all their possessions, and they are filled with foreign property, and they have also no more to sell. But I say, what of that? Sit, Governor, sit. You two stay here, you and Busby – you two, and they also, the missionaries. [1]

Pukututu was said to have been given a Union Jack flag by Hobson at the time of the signing.

During the Northern War of 1845–46, Pukututu hosted British forces when they were preparing to attack Ngāpuhi leader Te Ruki Kawiti at Ruapekapeka. He later hosted Kawiti when he came to make peace with Tāmati Wāka Nene.

On 13 June 1863, just before the invasion of Waikato, Pukututu and 328 other Ngāpuhi sent a letter to Governor George Grey stating their support for the government and condemning the acts of Ngāti Ruanui in Taranaki. Pukututu placed the blame for conflict on the Kīngitanga (Māori King movement).

[1] Quoted in William Colenso, The authentic and genuine history of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand, February 5 and 6, Government Printer, Wellington, 1890, pp. 21–2 (NZETC)

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