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
9Sheet 2 — The Manukau-Kāwhia SheetTaunuiTaonui HīkakaWaikato, Ngāti ManiapotoNgāti Rōra Kāwhia 15 June 1840

Taonui Hīkaka signed the Manukau-Kāwhia sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi at Kāwhia on 15 June 1840. He was a rangatira (chief) of the Ngāti Rōra hapū (subtribe) of Ngāti Maniapoto from the Patupatu pā in Waikato. He was named Taonui in remembrance of the cooking and eating of Ngārara-moe-rua and Uru at Te Kūiti, and later named Hīkaka (angry) for his fighting skills.

Taonui’s wife was probably Niapo of Ngāti Hia, and they had five sons, Taonui Hīkaka, Te Kurī, Tanirau, Te Naunau Hīkaka and Tautau, and one daughter, Te Rangituatahi, who married the trader Louis Hetet.

In 1816 Taonui led an attack against Ngāti Kinohaku, another hapū of Ngāti Maniapoto, in revenge for the death of Hine-rangi, killing Kahu-totara and Te Rari. Peace between the three hapū of Ngāti Maniapoto was restored after they combined to defeat Ngāti Tama at Tihi-mānuka. Taonui gained his name Hīkaka in 1834 at Rangiuru pā, beside the Ōtaki River, where he chased and killed Te Tupe-o-Tū and Te Hau-te-horo.

Taonui did not convert to Christianity. In the 1850s he was considered as a possible Māori King, a role he was not willing to accept.

According to some sources, Taonui wore a flute around his neck made from Pōmare’s leg bone, and owned the suit of armour given to Hongi Hika by King George IV in 1820. Taonui and his son of the same name fought against British troops at Waitara in April 1863. When the elder Taonui died in the 1860s, this son took over the leadership of Ngāti Rōra.


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Posted: 16 Nov 2022

It really bugs me when people copy and paste information which has not been thoroughly researched. Some of this information is from a biography completed by Historian, Gary Scott. I spoke with Gary Scott, some years ago, as i was not happy with his information. He confirmed he was a student at the time and his research could have been a bit more indepth ....