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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
25 Sheet 3 — The Waikato-Manukau Sheet Pungarehu Pungarehu Waikato Ngāti Apakura Waikato Heads, Late March or early April 1840

Pungarehu, from Pārāwera, south of Te Awamutu, signed Te Tiriti at the Waikato Heads mission station in late March or early April 1840. He may also have been known as Kahawai or Hoani Papita (John the Baptist). This chief was a successful flour miller, and with Kīngi Hōri Te Waru sent a gift of flour and a letter of thanks to Queen Victoria for her recent assurance to Waikato Māori that their land would not be taken away. The Queen sent back two lithograph portraits of herself, Prince Albert and their five children; one portrait is now in Te Awamutu Museum.

Land agent John White wrote to Native Minister Donald McLean in 1871, recommending that a man named Pungarehu be hired as a Native Policeman because there would be fewer complaints from people arrested by a young rangatira of high rank. [1] This Pungarehu may have been a relative of the treaty signatory.

[1] 3 pages written 20 March 1871 by John White in Alexandra to Sir Donald McLean, Object #1003310 from MS-Papers-0032-0632 (ATL)

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