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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
9 Sheet 1 — The Waitangi Sheet Pumuka Pūmuka Ngāpuhi, Te Roroa Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Pou Waitangi, 6 February 1840

Pūmuka was a chief of Te Roroa. He had children with two wives: Makarita, with whom he had Hoana Tiraroa Pūmuka, and Ani Mahiwhare, with whom he had Hori Pūmuka and Eru Pūmuka. He also had a third wife, Kerikeri, who worked for some time for Marianne Williams, the wife of missionary Henry Williams.

In 1833 British Resident James Busby gave a Union Jack flag to Pūmuka to thank him for his help in building good relations with local Māori chiefs. This flag is now held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In 1834 Pūmuka helped Busby call chiefs together at Waitangi to choose a flag to be used by Māori trading vessels – the United Tribes’ flag. In 1835 he once again helped gather chiefs at Waitangi, this time to sign He Whakaputanga – the Declaration of Independence. Pūmuka was among those who signed. In 1837 Pūmuka may have been on a committee appointed by Te Whakaminenga (the United Tribes, who had signed He Whakaputanga).

Pūmuka spoke in support of the Treaty of Waitangi and signed it on 6 February 1840 at Waitangi.

In 1845 Pūmuka, with Hōne Heke Pōkai and Te Ruki Kawiti, led an attack on Kororāreka (Russell). Pūmuka was killed by Captain David Robertson of HMS Hazard, who was himself badly wounded in this battle.

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