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
29Sheet 3 — The Waikato-Manukau SheetTe KanawaTe KanawaWaikato, Ngāti ManiapotoNgāti Mahuta, Ngāti Naho, Ngāti HineWaikato Heads Late March or early April 1840

Te Kanawa signed Te Tiriti at the Waikato Heads mission station in late March or early April 1840, also signing the Manukau–Kāwhia sheet on 21 May. A renowned fighting chief, Te Kanawa accompanied Te Wherowhero on many taua during the 1820s and 1830s. In 1857 he was one of the rangatira present when the Ngāti Maniapoto people confirmed their support for Te Wherowhero as the first Māori king.

When the geologist Ferdinand Hochstetter visited Aotea Harbour in 1859, he asked Te Kanawa what had happened to the other tribes who had lived in the area. The chief’s response was, ‘we have eaten them all up’. [1]

[1] Quoted in Ferdinand von Hochstetter, New Zealand: its physical geography, geology, and natural history: with special reference to the results of government expeditions in the provinces of Auckland and Nelson, J. G. Cotta, Stuttgart, 1867

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